In June, Van Morrison publicly denounced Northern Ireland’s health minister, Robin Swann, after one of the artist’s shows was canceled as a result of the country’s policies regarding COVID-19. The “Brown Eyed Girl” artist protested the lockdown through his music, with songs such as “Born to Be Free,” “As I Walked Out” and “No More Lockdown.” Eric Clapton joined him in this protest with “Stand and Deliver,” which criticized people who followed lockdown procedures. In August 2020, Morrison stood against the reduced capacity concerts and urged audiences to stand against the “pseudo-science.” His protest, however, has now turned into a lawsuit against him.
According to Stereogum, Morrison said that Swann was “very dangerous” for the way in which he handled the pandemic, and Swann is now suing for defamation. The article states that Swann’s lawyer expects the hearing to take place in early 2022, and Morrison’s lawyer will focus on how the singer’s comments were a matter of public interest.
Although Morrison has faced controversy with these performances and anti-lockdown songs, he has still spent time in the studio. In May 2021, he released Latest Record Project — Volume 1.
“In his older age, Van Morrison has turned more contemporary,” album reviewer Liam Thropp says of the piece. “He exudes a more casual form of self-expression within his music that maintains his reflectiveness like in his older days. Though, his sporadic saxophone playing provides some lively sounds that seem to highlight that iconic artist glow he has been known for.”