Gumbo Unplugged (Live)
Soul-stirring singer PJ Morton comes alive on joyful Live album ‘Gumbo Unplugged’
By Nathan Leigh
March 19, 2018
For a lot of artists, coming out with a live version of the breakthrough record you just put out might come off as a victory lap, but there’s something about PJ Morton’s Gumbo Unplugged that makes it just as much an essential part of his discography as Gumbo. Backed by the 22 piece Matt Jones orchestra, Morton sounds positively alive. There’s a joy emanating from every note and an intimacy to the performance that make you feel like you’re in the room, right between Morton’s Rhodes and the studio audience.
Inspired by a return to New Orleans after a stint in Los Angeles, PJ Morton’s songs are full of aspiration, inspiration, and a certainty that one day it’ll all be worth it. Now on the other side of that payoff, the live album finds Morton laughing at the “Cousin Rick’s” of the world on the standout “They Gon’ Wanna Come.” The highlights of this record are unquestionably the moments when Morton jokes with his audience, or in the closer “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” leads them in a sing-a-long. Every once in a while an artist puts out a live album that eclipses the studio album that inspired it. Gumbo Unplugged just might have found the secret ingredient.