Kevin Morby

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Kevin Morby
Kevin Morby playing in Oslo, 2019
Kevin Morby playing in Oslo, 2019
Background information
Birth nameKevin Robert Morby
Born (1988-04-02) April 2, 1988 (age 33)
Lubbock, Texas, U.S.
GenresIndie rock, folk rock
Occupation(s)Musician, singer-songwriter, guitarist, bassist
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, bass, piano
Years active2008–present
LabelsWoodsist, Dead Oceans
Associated actsWoods, The Babies, Waxahatchee, School Master Slugs

Kevin Robert Morby (born April 2, 1988) is an American musician, singer and songwriter. He has released six studio albums: Harlem River (2013), Still Life (2014), Singing Saw (2016), City Music (2017), Oh My God (2019), and Sundowner (2020).[1][2][3][4]

Biography[edit]

Early life, Woods, and The Babies[edit]

Kevin Morby was born in Lubbock, Texas on April 2, 1988; his family relocated around the U.S. due to his father's employment with General Motors before settling in Kansas City, Missouri.[5] Morby learned to play guitar when he was 10. In his teens he formed the band Creepy Aliens.[6]

17-year-old Morby dropped out of Blue Valley Northwest High School, got his GED, and moved from his native Kansas City to Brooklyn in the mid-2000s, supporting himself by working bike delivery and café jobs.[6] Morby has stated he had "loved New York from the movies" he'd seen, "I just wanted to experience it".[7] He later joined the noise-folk group Woods on bass. While living in Brooklyn, he became close friends and roommates with Cassie Ramone of the punk trio Vivian Girls, and the two formed a side project together called The Babies, who released albums in 2011 and 2012.[8]

Harlem River, Still Life, and Singing Saw (2013–2016)[edit]

Following his move to Los Angeles, Morby recorded a collection of songs with Babies producer Rob Barbato that were intended to be an homage to New York City. Released in 2013 by Woodsist Records, the eight-song collection was called Harlem River and became Morby's debut as a solo artist. The album also features drummer Justin Sullivan (The Babies) as well as contributions from Will Canzoneri, Tim Presley (White Fence), Dan Iead, and Cate Le Bon.

While on tour, Morby wrote songs that were later featured on his second album, Still Life. The album was once again produced by Barbato and released on October 14, 2014.[9]

Morby worked with Sam Cohen (Apollo Sunshine, Yellowbirds) on his third album, titled Singing Saw, which was released on April 15, 2016.[10]

In 2016, Morby wrote Beautiful Strangers, a protest song in remembrance of Paris 2015 attacks, Orlando 2016 shooting, and death of Freddie Gray.[11] After various live performance that year,[12] it was released as a single in October 2016, with the proceeds benefitting Everytown for Gun Safety.[13][11]

City Music (2017–2018)[edit]

Morby's fourth studio album was recorded with his live band, with guitarist Meg Duffy noting: "We all worked on the next record together, pretty collaboratively in terms of arranging and playing. We spent a week in a beautiful studio, up near Stinson Beach."[14] The album, City Music, was released in June 2017.

Apart from City Music he also released in 2017 a cover version of “After Hours,” from the Velvet Underground’s 1969 self-titled album, in duo with Waxahatchee.[15] As a tribute to Jason Molina, the duo covered in January 2018 two Jason Molina tracks for MusiCares, an American charity supporting musicians’ health. The digital single, also available as 7” vinyl through Dead Oceans, contained the two songs, “Farewell Transmission” and “The Dark Don’t Hide It”.[16] The longtime private and musical relationship later led to touring and shows together, among others SXSW shows and a successful Australia tour (Sydney, Melbourne) in November 2018.[17]

Oh My God (2019)[edit]

Morby's fifth studio album, Oh My God, was announced on February 27, 2019. The first single off the album, "No Halo" was released on the same day. The album was released April 26, 2019 via Dead Oceans[18] and was met with wide critical acclaim (19 of 20 published reviews aggregated on Metacritic were scored positive).[19] It was featured in the April 24, 2019 The Wall Street Journal print edition headlined “Devine Intervention” and called Morby’s best. The album reached number 2 on Billboard charts Heatseekers albums.[20] In September 2019, Morby reunited with Woods for a special performance at their Woodsist festival.[21]

Sundowner & more (2020-present)[edit]

Morby's sixth studio album, Sundowner, was announced on September 1, 2020. The first single off the album, "Campfire", was released on the same day. The album was released on October 16, 2020 via Dead Oceans.[22]

On May 1, 2020, Morby released a live version of Beautiful Strangers & Harlem River on an album titled On Mon Dieu: Live à Paris. The recording came from Morby's sold-out performance at the Cabaret Sauvage in 2019. The album was released on Morby's Bandcamp through Dead Oceans.[23]

In October 2020, Morby released a standalone single, "US Mail" with an accompanying music video as well as sharing his own P.O. box number as a way to promote the USPS.[24]

In February 2021, Marc Maron mentioned several times on Instagram Live that he doesn't know who Morby is, which Morby responded to on his own Instagram page, eventually leading to Maron posting an interview with Morby on Instagram Live.[25]

Mare Records[edit]

In June 2017, Morby officially launched his new label imprint, Mare Records, with the signing of Shannon Lay and announcement of her new LP, Living Water. Mare will operate as an imprint of the Woodsist label, which also released Morby's first two solo albums.[26] Anna St Louis' debut album, If Only There Was a River, was scheduled to be released in December 2018 on Woodsist / Mare.[27]

Influences[edit]

Morby cites Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, and Simon Joyner among his favorite artists.[28][29]

Backing band[edit]

Morby's live backing band consists of the following:

  • Cyrus Gengras – bass guitar (2016–present)
  • Nick Kinsey – drums (2016–present)

Former

Discography[edit]

Solo[edit]

with Woods[edit]

with The Babies[edit]

Personal life[edit]

In 2017, Morby moved from Los Angeles to Overland Park, Kansas, near where he grew up.[30] He is in a relationship with Katie Crutchfield (of the band Waxahatchee).[30][31] Together they have covered songs by Jason Molina,[32] Bob Dylan,[33] The Velvet Underground[34] and Everclear.[35]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Kevin Morby announces debut solo lp stream first track Archived December 24, 2013, at archive.today", Woodsist. Retrieved on 2013-12-24.
  2. ^ "Song Premiere: Kevin Morby - Parade", KEXP. Retrieved on 2014-08-26.
  3. ^ "WATCH // Kevin Morby Shares Trailer For ‘Singing Saw,’ Out April 15th Archived December 9, 2017, at the Wayback Machine", Dead Oceans. Retrieved on 2016-02-22.
  4. ^ Monger, Timothy. "Kevin Morby Biography", Allmusic. Retrieved on 2013-12-24.
  5. ^ "A Wanderlust Soundtrack of L.A.: Kevin Morby on His New Album, Singing Saw". Vogue.com. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  6. ^ a b "With Woods, and now the Babies, JoCo native Kevin Morby is inching toward indie-rock renown ", The Pitch. Retrieved on 2013-12-28.
  7. ^ "Exclusive Interview with indie legend Kevin Morby". Indieberlin.de. May 11, 2016. Retrieved May 11, 2016.
  8. ^ Carroll, Tobias. "Brooklyn-bred band the Babies seek inspiration from way out west". Politico.com. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  9. ^ "Kevin Morby - Still Life". Woodsist. Archived from the original on October 14, 2014. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  10. ^ "Kevin Morby (Woods, the Babies) Announces Solo Album Singing Saw and Tour". Pitchfork. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  11. ^ a b "The 10 Best Kevin Morby Songs". pastemagazine.com. April 24, 2019. Retrieved December 21, 2020.
  12. ^ "Beautiful Strangers b/w No Place To Fall, by Kevin Morby". Kevin Morby. Retrieved December 21, 2020.
  13. ^ "Kevin Morby & Waxahatchee Perform Acoustic 'Beautiful Strangers'". JamBase. Retrieved December 21, 2020.
  14. ^ Lindsay, Andrew (February 28, 2017). "Vulnerable Creativity: A Hand Habits Interview". The Reprise. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  15. ^ "Waxahatchee and Kevin Morby Cover the Velvet Underground: Listen". Pitchfork.com. October 19, 2017. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
  16. ^ "Waxahatchee and Kevin Morby Cover Jason Molina for Charity: Listen". Pitchfork.com. January 25, 2018. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
  17. ^ "Watch Kevin Morby & Waxahatchee Cover "It Ain't Me Babe" At Sydney Opera House". Stereogum.com. February 12, 2019. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
  18. ^ Pierre, Alphonse (February 27, 2019). "Kevin Morby Announces New Album Oh My God, Shares New Song "No Halo": Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved February 27, 2019.
  19. ^ "Oh My God by Kevin Morby" – via www.metacritic.com.
  20. ^ "Kevin Morby". Billboard.com. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  21. ^ Greenhaus, Mike https://jambands.com/features/2019/10/07/kevin-morby-explores-songs-for-the-mind/ Jambands.com
  22. ^ Ruiz, Matthew Ismael (September 1, 2020). "Kevin Morby Announces New Album Sundowner, Shares New Video With Waxahatchee". Pitchfork. Retrieved September 1, 2020.
  23. ^ "Kevin Morby: Oh Mon Dieu: Live in Paris". Record Store Day. Retrieved February 11, 2021.
  24. ^ "Kevin Morby Shares New Song "US Mail"". Pitchfork. October 27, 2020. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  25. ^ Rettig, James (February 28, 2021). "Marc Maron Finally Knows Who Kevin Morby Is". Stereogum. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  26. ^ "Introducing Mare, our new imprint with Kevin Morby and its first release, Shannon Lay's Living Water – Woodsist". Woodsist.com. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  27. ^ "ANNA ST. LOUIS ANNOUNCES DEBUT ALBUM "IF ONLY THERE WAS A RIVER', OUT 10/12 ON WOODSIST / MARE". Music News Net. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  28. ^ "Kevin Morby: The Best of What's Next", Paste Magazine. Retrieved on 2013-12-28.
  29. ^ "Kevin Morby of the Babies on bodegas, beer and the background of the band". Fox and Sound. Archived from the original on December 30, 2013. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  30. ^ a b Curto, Justin (January 8, 2021). "The House That Rebuilt Them". Vulture. Retrieved February 4, 2021.
  31. ^ "Artist Couples Talk on the Talkhouse Podcast". Talkhouse.com. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  32. ^ "Waxahatchee and Kevin Morby Cover Jason Molina for Charity: Listen". Pitchfork.com. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  33. ^ "Waxahatchee & Kevin Morby Cover Bob Dylan's "It Ain't Me, Babe" At Sydney Opera House: Watch". February 12, 2019.
  34. ^ "Waxahatchee and Kevin Morby Cover the Velvet Underground: Listen". Pitchfork.com. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  35. ^ "Waxahatchee and Kevin Morby Cover Everclear: Listen". Pitchfork.com. Retrieved April 2, 2020.