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Morning Comes

Cuff the Duke

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Album Review

Morning Comes, the fifth album by Canadian country-rockers Cuff the Duke, is alleged to be not just a concept album, but the first half of a two-record conceptual piece, with the second half still to come. How seriously you take that depends in part upon how much credence you give to concept albums in general, but be advised that even the band itself is fairly loose about the thematic thread that ties it all together, ultimately chalking it up to an emotional and philosophical reaction to midlife revelations about/reactions to mortality, et al. As with almost all truly successful concept or semi-concept albums, though, it's entirely possible — quite easy, in fact — to forget about the overarching theme and simply take each song on its own at face value. If you do that, you'll quickly discover that Cuff the Duke are dab hands at their craft. Like its predecessor, Morning Comes is produced by Greg Keelor, a founding member of Canadian alt-country OGs Blue Rodeo (a band that Cuff the Duke frontman Wayne Petti unsurprisingly claims as a formative influence). There are traces of other first-generation alt-country acts here as well — a touch of poignant Uncle Tupelo-esque lyricism is audible in tracks like "So Many Times Before," while the rich harmonies and warm-hearted jangle the band employs throughout most of the album should appeal to anyone with a couple of Jayhawks records in his or her collection. But Cuff the Duke aren't simply the sum of their influences either — all the songs on Morning Comes display a well-formed melodic sensibility and overall musical maturity that seem to slip too easily through the fingers of many of the band's Americana-leaning contemporaries. Even if you don't give a toss about the linear flow of the tunes, it's enough to make you eager to hear the sequel. ~ J. Allen, Rovi


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

It is no wonder that Canada's Cuff the Duke opened for Blue Rodeo on a key tour, or that Blue Rodeo's Greg Keelor is producing their fourth album. Like Keelor and his own bandmates, Cuff the Duke are one of those unbelievably talented bands that can jump genres like a game of hopscotch — to the point where their music is almost undefinable except for the good ol' catchall, "alternative."...
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Morning Comes, Cuff the Duke
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