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A onetime poet and playwright, singer-songwriter R.B. Morris was among the most literate composers to emerge from the alternative country community of the 1990s. A native of Knoxville, Tennessee, he was raised on old-time music, but through an older brother was later introduced to Beat literature, poetry, drama and the work of Bob Dylan. During his first honky-tonk performances, Morris was backed by string bands, but as time wore on, his music began flirting more and more with rock; after touring the U.S., Canada and Europe, he returned to the Applachians to spend a year in seclusion dwelling in a primitive mountain cabin. After briefly relocating to San Francisco, Morris went back to Knoxville to focus on writing; in addition to performing his poetry at open-mike nights, he also edited a literary journal, Hard Knoxville, and penned a one-man play, The Man Who Lives Here Is Loony, about the life of writer James Agee. By the mid-1990s, Morris was living and performing in Nashville, where he came to attention of John Prine; upon signing to Prine's Oh Boy label, he issued his debut LP, Take That Ride, in 1997. Zeke and the Wheel followed two years later.