Entertainment Weekly

Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content
Oscars 2017
Everything you need to knowDon't Miss It


Pay the Devil

Posted on

Pay the Devil

Current Status:
In Season
Van Morrison
Lost Highway

We gave it a B+

Given how much a traditional Irish tune and a traditional Nashville song have in common (e.g., drinking and cheating), it was only a matter of time before Van Morrison got around to dabbling in country. On Pay the Devil, he settles comfortably into ageless, beer-drenched standards like ”There Stands the Glass” and ”Back Street Affair.” With his slurry brogue, Morrison is a natural at sounding like a disconsolate guy unloading on a bartender. The album is a little too respectful of tradition sometimes: The multiple, Bob Wills-style fiddles are fine, but we didn’t really need a revival of schmaltzy choirs straight out of countrypolitan records of the ’60s. Yet despite moments when Morrison sounds like someone in a Dublin karaoke pub, the record goes down as easy as a shot of fine whiskey. Hank would probably have liked it, even if one of the few missteps is, ironically, a sluggish cover of ”Your Cheatin’ Heart.”