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This cover image released by Exile/Caroline International shows "Three Chords And The Truth," a release by Van Morrison. (Exile/Caroline International via AP)

Van Morrison

‘Three Chords and the Truth’

Released: Oct. 25

Label: Exile/Caroline International

Don’t judge a book by its cover, or, at least with Van Morrison.

Arriving on the heels of a successful series of records combining some of his own composition with plenty of R&B, blues and jazz numbers, you could expect a name like “Three Chords and the Truth” and the stylized lines of the cover art to point you toward a collection of country classics.

Instead, Van the Man’s sixth(!) album in four years gathers over 67 minutes of Morrison originals, its 14 tracks among the most easygoing-in-a-good-way he’s released in ages.

Morrison brings “Astral Weeks” guitarist Jay Berliner back into the fold on six tracks to add some very fine acoustic guitar leads. On the soulful title track, as well as on the rollicking “Early Days” which features Morrison’s honking sax, he revisits career beginnings, a theme he’s tackled before which evidently continues to inspire him.

“In Search of Grace” recounts a woman’s mysterious disappearance 50-odd years ago to a tune reminiscent of the Impressions’ “People Get Ready,” while closer “Days Gone By” is nearly eight minutes of earthbound mysticism built on folk foundations similar to those which elevated many of Morrison’s best albums in decades past.

Key cuts: “March Winds in February,” “Bags Under My Eyes”

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