Kevin Morby will perform at the High Noon Saloon Monday, April 30. Morby has a long history of playing music. His solo career took off in 2013 with the record Harlem River, which featured the well-loved song for which the album is titled. His music career has continued to flourish with his subsequent albums, including Still Life, Singing Saw and most recently City Music.
Morby’s music is equally upbeat and easygoing, while his vocals peripherally resemble Bob Dylan’s deep voice, but with his own sound. His song “Beautiful Strangers” from his 2016 EP Beautiful Strangers b/w No Place to Fall represents his musical style well. It has a lighter, pleasant sound and uplifting message, but also has depth through the lyrics that touch on a difficult topic.
The artist grappled with death and finding purpose through the lyrics: “You got a sweet voice, child / Why don’t you use it? / If I die too young, if the gunmen come, I’m full of love / So release me, every piece of me, up above.”
In the song, he mentioned topics that create fear and raise the specter of death, yet his message is primarily about carrying on and making positive change. The concluding lyrics: “And I’ll sleep easy like little Jesus, safe from danger / Carry onward like some songbird, beautiful stranger” emphasized his commitment to finding peace among chaos and danger.
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The song “City Music” from his most recent album has a similar structure to his slightly older release, “Harlem River.” Each of these songs has a drastically different tone, as “City Music” is more energetic and electric, while “Harlem River” has a mysterious and eerie quality, making for an entirely different listening experience.
Both songs tactfully use repetition of particular sounds and phrases. The contrast in sound between these songs and many others showcase Morby’s talent for creating diverse music and experimenting with different styles and creating new tones with each record.
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“Come to Me Now” from City Music exemplifies his range of music and lyrical subject matter. This song is slower, like “Harlem River” and is melancholy yet beautiful and honest. It is composed of shorter phrases in the lyrics that reveal Morby’s profound ideas and emotions.
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The lyrics state: “I can’t wait for the sun to go down / Tired of squinting at this god-awful town / I can’t wait for that moon to rise / She’s my friend, always been, you can see it in my eyes / That I love her / Yeah, I do / Oh, I love her / And she loves me too.”
Morby also released an EP with Waxahatchee called Farewell Transmission b/w The Dark Don’t Hide It this year. He has continually made music and will ideally keep up his unique sound.