Kevin Morby Announces City Music LP w/”Come To Me Now” Lyric Video

In 2016, Kevin Morby released one of the strongest albums of the year with Singing Saw.  His 3rd solo LP and his first for the Dead Oceans label, it may or may not have been a breakthrough for the Los Angeles-based songwriter, but it definitely was for me as a listener.  I knew him previously as a member of the incredible New York outfit, Woods and, to a lesser extent, his project, The Babies, which he had formed with Cassie Ramone of Vivian Girls.  I enjoyed what I’d heard of from him and even posted a favorable live review from one of our writers in the Bay Area, at one point, but it wasn’t until I caught him live myself, at last year’s Pickathon festival, that I truly achieved some broader level of understanding for just how great it is that Morby‘s been creating.  I explained it best in the following excerpt from our coverage of the festival, which I wound up seeing him perform at twice.

When we were first getting press releases about Morby‘s 2013 debut — his ode to New York, Harlem River  — it was clearly well written stuff, but it wasn’t as immediately engaging to me as the beloved project that he had walked away from.  That’s most likely due to the unique voice of Woods frontman, Jeremy Earl, while Kevin‘s had a more familiar tone; at times, almost, Dylanesque  — a comparison that’s, admittedly, all too easy to make.  Some of his influences were definitely on his sleeve, but as with many of my favorite songwriters (David Berman, Bill Callahan, Townes Van Zandt, etc.) his work can be more of a slow burn than something that is guaranteed to crack you over the skull on first listen.  Then again, I get the feeling now that all you really need to do is see him perform live with his band just once to get that sweet dome split.  Playing material that spanned all 3 of his releases, including his latest, Singing Saw, and that very first single from the first album, “Miles, Miles, Miles,” it all sounds like nothing else to me, except Kevin Morby.”

Ironically enough, while I was fully recognizing Morby as a unique creative voice unto himself, beyond any potential influences, his own current descriptor of Singing Saw is that it was imagined as “an old bookshelf with a young Bob and Joni staring back at me, blank and timeless. They live here, in this left side of my brain, smoking cigarettes and playing acoustic guitars while lying on an unmade bed.

Singing Saw was crafted around a good deal of solitude after Morby moved to the Mount Washington area of Los Angeles, where he took nightly walks through the “winding hills and side streets” of his new neighborhood, and found himself, as a beginner at piano, working from an old upright that was left by previous tenants.  In contrast, his upcoming release, City Music — slated for this June 16th (Tupac’s birthday, folks) — is described as a counterpart to his previous effort, generated from the opposite side of Kevin‘s aforementioned brain.  He describes the new project with equal reverence for the legends that came before him, stating: “Here, Lou Reed and Patti Smith stare out at the listener.  Stretched out on a living room floor they are somewhere in mid-70s Manhattan, also smoking cigarettes.”  While Morby has yielded stellar results by exploring fresh new environments, travels, and experiences as foundation for his recent work, City Music acknowledges the urban environments of his past, those that are embedded deep within him as an essential part of his own foundation.  Or, as the multi-instrumentalist himself, puts it, “It is a mix-tape, a fever dream, a love letter dedicated to those cities that I cannot get rid of, to those cities that are all inside of me.”  The press release touches on the idea of an equally solitary perspective, another first person view through the songwriter’s eyes, but this time he’s peering from an apartment window over an urban landscape “exposed like a giant bleeding wound” — perhaps, a folksier version of Nas‘s Illmatic.

Accompanying the album announcement is a lyric video for the first single/lead off track, “Come To Me Now.”

“The organ you’re hearing on this song is an old pump organ from the 1800s, I wish I could remember the brand – but I don’t.  This was my favorite part of recording this album, playing this thing and pumping air into it with the foot pedals, it had such a presence from the moment I entered the studio.  For the first few days I think I thought it was just there for looks, that there was no way it still worked, but sure enough it did.  Above it hung a framed photo of the original owner of the studios property who died sometime ago.  Apparently his ghost still occupies the premises.” – Kevin Morby

Physical copies of City Music can be pre-ordered now through Kevin Morby‘s bandcamp.

Check out the video for “Come To Me Now” below, followed by album track list and tour dates.

1. Come To Me Now
2. Crybaby
3. 1234
4. Aboard My Train
5. Dry Your Eyes
6. Flannery
7. City Music
8. Tin Can
9. Caught In My Eye
10. Night Time
11. Pearly Gates
12. Downtown’s Lights

Wed. March 22 – Cincinnati OH @ The Woodward Theater
Th. March 23 – Pittsburgh PA @ Carnegie Lecture Hall of Oakland
Fri. March 24 – Toronto ON @ Longboat Hall
Sat. March 25 – Montréal QC @ Théâtre Plaza
Sun. March 26 – Burlington VT @ ArtsRiot
Tue. March 28 – Portland ME @ Port City Music Hall
Wed. March 29 – Hamden CT @ The Ballroom at The Outer Space
Thu. March 30 – Jersey City NJ @ Monty Hall
Fri. March 31 – Jersey City NJ @ Monty Hall
Sat. April 1 – Carlisle PA @ The Trellis at Dickinson College
Sun. April 2 – Baltimore MD @ Creative Alliance
Tue. May 23 – Washington DC @ Rock and Roll Hotel
Wed. May 24 – New York NY @ Bowery Ballroom
Fri. May 26 – Philadelphia PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
Sat. May 27 – Allston MA @ Boston Calling
Thu. June 1 – Barcelona, ES @ Primavera Sound
Sat. June 3 – London, UK @ Field Day
Sun. June 4 – Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso
Thu. June 8 – Sun. June 11 – Manchester TN @ Bonnaroo
Fri. June 23 – Sun. June 25 – North Adams MA @ Solid Sound Festival
Tue. June 27 – Gothenburg, SE @ Pustervik
Wed. June 28 – Roskilde, DK @ Roskilde Festival
Sun. July 2 – Berlin, DE @ Quasimodo
Mon. July 3 – Frankfurt, DE @ Zoom
Wed. July 5 – Düdingen, DE @ Bad Bonn
Fri. July 7 – Soliera/Modena, IT @ Artivive
Sun. July 9 – Brugge, BE @ Cactusfestival
Tue. July 11 – Paris, FR @ Le Trabendo
Thu. July 13 – Lisbon, PT @ Super Bock Super Rock
Sat. July 15 – Dour, BE @ Dour Festival
Sun. July 16 – Southwold, UK @ Latitude
Fri. July 28 – Newport RI @ Newport Folk Festival

Dead C

Located in Seattle, Dead C is the founder/editor, as well as the principal writer and photographer, of Monster Fresh. Creating the site in 2007, he did so with a specific dream in mind. Unfortunately, being a muscle relaxer-fueled fever dream, it's hard to recall all of the details. "I remember that my mom was there, but it wasn't actually her in the dream, it was actually 70s heart throb, Jan Michael Vincent. And everything took place here, in this room... but it wasn't actually here... it was different. The colors were washed out and, for some reason, there was a raccoon kicking it with us and it was wearing a holographic monocle."

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