The Morrells, with Brian Capps, Domino Kings and Bel Airs

At 2001's South By Southwest, the Morrells, a group that had just released its first album in 18 years, seemed to set Austin ablaze, with its name frequently being intoned into cell phones or dropped during daytime panels. Veterans coming out of deep hibernation have become one of the festival's most anticipated attractions, but it was refreshing to see the non-glamorous Morrells, who haven't sniffed the charts once in a career that started in 1979, inspire this sort of enthusiasm. Building on that momentum, the group waited only four years to release a follow-up, this year's Think About It. Like all the creative core's efforts, dating back to when founding members Lou Whitney and D. Clinton Thompson fronted an earlier incarnation called the Skeletons, Think About It is a kaleidoscopic collection that ranges from R&B to sock-hop bop to lush chamber pop. Thompson's scorching rockabilly and country-spurred solos neatly split the songs in two. The Springfield, Missouri-based outfit's easygoing pace and folksy humor ("Seven days without love makes one weak") ensure that its relentless genre-jumping never feels jarring. A Morrells show is a must-see affair, not only because its sonic spectrum becomes even more expansive live but also because its next area appearance could be a decade away.
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Andrew Miller