Kevin Morby – This Is A Photograph (2022) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

(Last Updated On: July 5, 2022)

Kevin Morby – This Is A Photograph (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 45:23 minutes | 451 MB | Genre: Rock, Folk, Indie
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Dead Oceans

Produced by Sam Cohen (who also worked on Morby’s Singing Saw and Oh My God), This Is A Photograph features musical contributions from longtime staples of Morby’s live band, as well as old friends and new collaborators alike. If Oh My God saw Morby getting celestial and in constant motion and Sundowner was a study in localized intent, This Is A Photograph finds Morby making an Americana paean, a visceral life and death, blood on the canvas outpouring. As Morby reminds us early on, time is undefeated. So what do we do while we’re still here? This is a photograph of that sense of yearning.

In 2020, before the pandemic, Kevin Morby was at his parents’ home in Kansas City when his father collapsed at the dinner table and had to be rushed to the hospital. Hours later, still rattled, Morby was going through family photos when he came across one of his dad as a young man—strong, full of confidence, standing tall with his shirt off. He was struck by the reality of aging and inevitable frailty, and how it robs us all of that youthful confidence, even as the memories live within us (and in photographs). He turned those feelings into the song “This Is a Photograph”: “Your father on the front lawn/ With no shirt on/ Ready to take the world on”; “Your mother in a skirt/ In the cool Kentucky dirt.” The melody snakes and, pushed hard by horns, Morby’s chant builds to a frenzy: “This is what I’ll miss about being alive/ This is what I’ll miss when I die.” The singer-songwriter took off to Memphis to make his seventh album. There, he found himself living with ghosts—like the memory of Jeff Buckley, who drowned there in 1997. “If you go down to Memphis, please don’t go swimming in the Mississippi River,” he sings on the undulating “Disappearing”: “If you’re not appearing, then you’ll disap—” his voice doing just that with the snap of fingers. “A Coat of Butterflies”—with its lonely sax and lilting harp—is an even more direct tribute to Buckley, bouncing between talking to the late singer and about him. “I heard the mighty Mississippi took you away with just one punch/ I heard you had the voice of a sweetheart/ But the sweetheart was out getting drunk,” Morby sings. “Have you heard Buckley singing ‘Hallelujah’?/ He did what Leonard never could to it/ Gave it wings and then away it was.” There’s a beautiful duet with Erin Rae, “Bittersweet, TN,” that also weighs the cost of time. A spartan banjo and punch-drunk fiddle provide accompaniment as the singers finish each other’s verses, Rae’s voice as clear as a mountain stream. The Bob Dylan quality (with a little Lou Reed creeping in now and again) of Morby’s own warm voice is especially obvious on songs like “A Random Act of Kindness,” “Stop Before I Cry” and back-alley-Memphis-moody “Five Easy Pieces.” Garage-ready “Rock Bottom” stirs up another (still very much alive) Memphis spirit, Tav Falco, with its fuzzy low-end guzzle and wildness—”It’s cold down here/ Rock bottom!”—complete with maniacal laughter from absurdist comedy stars Alia Shawkat and Tim Heidecker. The piano feels like a ray of light on “It’s Over,” even as Morby wrestles with loss (the line “January turned to firewood” is absolutely haunted).” And the singer does his best Leonard Cohen on closer “Goodbye to Good Times,” a relaxed-fit slice of nostalgia referencing Mickey Mantle, Tina Turner and the ingrained notion that the heroes of our youth are the best. – Shelly Ridenour

Tracklist:
01. Kevin Morby – Intro (00:32)
02. Kevin Morby – This Is A Photograph (03:30)
03. Kevin Morby – A Random Act Of Kindness (04:14)
04. Kevin Morby – Bittersweet, TN (04:13)
05. Kevin Morby – Disappearing (03:27)
06. Kevin Morby – A Coat Of Butterflies (06:40)
07. Kevin Morby – Rock Bottom (02:44)
08. Kevin Morby – Forever Inside A Picture (00:14)
09. Kevin Morby – Five Easy Pieces (04:11)
10. Kevin Morby – Stop Before I Cry (04:58)
11. Kevin Morby – It’s Over (05:21)
12. Kevin Morby – Goodbye To Good Times (05:14)

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