By Ian Bremner
Kevin Morby strikes a listener as someone who can write a song about anything. His songs are equally cutting as they are vague. He is not afraid to name drop his friend who no one else knows. He often writes in incomplete phrasing and repeated words. It seems as though Morby writes simply through the lens in which he views the world. What makes him and his music so special is his ability to put music to mundane observations and make them beautiful.
Morby’s 6th full length record, Sundowner, is a DIY effort written entirely in his hometown of Kansas City. An old shed in his backyard became the new writing room, just Morby and a 4-track tape. It’s less of a full-band affair as the most recent record Oh My God had been, and the stripped down nature of the songs allows you to feel the source of the material. The record was concepted well before the global quarantine period, but it’s the type of record that feels born out of isolation. Songs like Campfire, Valley, and Don’t Underestimate Midwest American Sun may harken comparisons of Springsteen’s Nebraska record for the reason of barren flatlands of the west, but it’s far less story-based and more deeply rooted in personal warmth. Conversely, A Night At The Little Los Angeles, a song titled after the namesake given to his house in KC, is a perfect example of Morby’s own style of storytelling. Is all that happening at his house literally? Is a dream? Does it even matter?
Still a relatively young man, Kevin Morby is coming off a string of incredibly impressive records. Singing Saw, City Music and Oh My God is a trio of tremendous envy for most songwriters. Sundowner stands on it’s own entirely, but it’s fun to imagine 15 years into the future sitting back and squabbling with friends about where it stands in Morby’s catalog. Similar to the type of conversations folks have about how Nebraska compares to Born To Run or The River.
Listen to Sundowner via spotify