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Kevin Morby Releases New Single + Video “Rock Bottom” – Upcoming Album “This Is A Photograph” out 13th May via Dead Oceans

April 1, 2022
photo credit: Chantal Anderson

Kevin Morby Releases New Single + Video “Rock Bottom”

Upcoming album “This Is A Photograph” out 13th May via Dead Oceans

 Kevin Morby releases a new single/video, “Rock Bottom”, from his forthcoming album, This Is A Photograph, out 13th May on Dead Oceans. Morby wrote much of this album in Memphis. Following his father’s health scare, he moved into the Peabody Hotel and spent his days paying tribute and genuflecting to the dreamers he admired;  the banks of the Mississippi River, where Jeff Buckley met his end;  the neighborhood where Jay Reatard spent his last day; the Stax marquee and Graceland. The apparitions that filled Morby’s days haunt the record; apparent in the twisted rock and roll rave up of “Rock Bottom” (“All of my life, oh to be anything but in the rock bottom”). The track features Sam Cohen on bass (who also produced the record), backing vocals by Cassandra Jenkins, and laugh tracks from Tim Heidecker and Alia Shawkat. The accompanying video, directed by frequent Kansas City-based collaborator Johnny Eastlund, is charming with a comedic edge. It features Morby, Heidceker, and artist Ariel Kellogg.

Kevin brings this fuzz-fuelled, vibrant ensemble, showcasing his rich tapestry of immersive song-writing and blending raw lyrics with this addictive atmosphere. Kevin drops this compelling composition highlighting the artists’ unlimited range, Morby is about to change 2022 for his fan’s own good, just as he did in 2020 with Sundowner.  Another release that brings a truly raw, reflective, and vibrant touch to the forefront of this immense ensemble. The rolling rhythms that loop throughout become the ultimate hook.

Morby elaborates on the track and video: “I’d often pass a mural of the late James Lee Lindsey Jr. on Main Street (in Memphis) which eventually lead me down a rabbit hole to revisiting his body of work including watching the 2009 documentary filmed during his last days, Better Than Something. I was taken by how similar his story was to that of many other American icons that were ahead of their time and too-quickly rose from the bottom to the top, inevitably burning out. I read that his stage name, Jay Reatard, was worn as a badge of honor after years of being picked on in grade school – which may or may not be why on the cover of his seminal album Blood Visions he’s covered in blood as a nod to Sissy Spacek’s character in Carrie. Because of this I chose to begin the song by repeating ‘they’re all gonna laugh at you!’ When in the studio I pointed at the last Reatard’s album, Grown Up, Fucked Up as a reference for what I was trying to achieve sonically. For the video, director Johnny Eastlund and I decided we wanted to make an Ice Cream themed Nunchucking Western so I tagged in one of my instagram nunchuck idols Ariel Kellog to help me battle an evil talent show judge, played by Tim Heidecker, who is taunting his contestants, most notably a little girl in a bumble bee costume. The video also features comedian Caleb Heron, my bandmate Cyrus Gengras, Azniv Korkejian (aka Bedouine), Jess Wolfe (who is 1/2 of Lucius), and more.”

The recording of This Is A Photograph  began in Cohen’s upstate New York studio that was still being built, along with drummer Nick Kinsey, working on the songs slowly. Over time, the cast began to fill out. Former touring pianist Oliver Hill and his mother Meg and sister Charlotte provided strings. Touring compatriots Cochemea Gastelum (saxophone), Jared Samuel (organ) and Alecia Chakour (vocals, tambourine) joined the sessions as well as Eric  Johnson (banjo). And new collaborators like drummer Josh Jaeger (drums, percussion), Brandee Younger (harp), Makaya McCraven (drums), plus Jenkins, Heidecker, and Shawkat, added to the developing picture.  And fittingly, in the end, the last sessions were held live in Memphis at Sam Philip’s Recording Co., helmed by his son Jerry Philips, which carries on with the legacy of the original Sun Records studio.

This Is A Photograph finds Morby making an Americana paean, a visceral life and death, blood on the canvas outpouring. The creatively invigorated songwriter has managed to align his finest songs, his best vocal performances, his most incisive lyrics, and his most lush arrangements and put them all on This Is A Photograph.  This is unquestionably his magnum opus to date. For more insight on the making of the album, Morby has announced the launch of a new Substack. Through weekly updates, Morby will share drawings, photos, poems, essays, demos, and more, or as Kevin puts it, “all the puzzle pieces that go into eventually, somehow, magically creating an album of music that I don’t usually share with the public. As one who loves to share their experiences and creations with others while here on planet earth, I’m looking forward to having this newsletter to help do just that.”

This May, Morby will kick off his world tour in support of This Is A Photograph. After a run in Europe, he’ll return stateside and play across North American. Tickets for all dates are on sale now.

Kevin Morby UK/EU tour dates:

Fri. May 20 – Madrid, ES @ Tomavistas

Sat. May 21 – Biarritz, FR @ L’Atabal

Sun. May 22 – Montpellier, FR @ Le Rockstore

Mon. May 23 – Bordeaux, FR @ Rock School Barbey

Tue. May 24 – Paris, FR @ Le Bataclan

Wed. May 25 – Köln, DE @ Kulturekirche

Thu. May 26 – Antwerpen, BE @ De Roma

Sat. May 28 – London, UK @ Wide Awake at Brockwell Park

Sun. May 29 – Utrecht, NL @ TivoliVredenburg

Mon. May 30 – Hamburg, DE @ Uebel & Gefährlich

Tue. May 31 – Berlin, DE @ Metropol

Wed. Jun. 1 – Schorndorf, DE @ Manufaktur

Fri. Jun. 3- Angers, FR  @ Levitation

Sat. Jun. 4 – Clermont-Ferrand, FR @ La Cooperative de Mai

Mon. Jun. 5 – Lille, FR @ Aéronef

Sun. Jul. 3 – Bologna, IT @ Covo Summer

Mon. Jul. 4 – Terni, IT @ Anfifteatro Romano

Wed. Jul. 6 – Zagreb, HR @ Mochvara

Thu. Jul. 7 – Budapest, HU @ Akvárium Klub

Fri. Jul. 8 – Trencin, Slovakia @ Pohoda Festival

Sat. Jul. 9 – Zittau, DE @ Lonesome Lake Festival

Mon. Jul. 11 – Vienna, AT @ WUK

Tue. Jul. 12 – Munich, DE @ Ampere

Wed. Jul. 13 – Bern, CH @ Gurtenfestival

Fri. Jul. 15 – Lisbon, PT @ Super Bock Super Rock

Sun. Aug. 21 – Erlanger, DE @ Ewerk

Mon. Aug. 22 – Hannover, DE @ Café Glocksee

Wed. Aug. 24 – Copenhagen, DK @ Punpehuset

Sat. Aug. 27 – Prague, CZ @ Meetfactory

Mon. Aug. 28 – Darmstadt, DE @ Golden Leaves Festival

Wed. Aug. 31 – Brighton, UK @ Chalk

Sat. Sept. 3 – Dorset, UK @ End of the Road Festival

Sun. Sept. 4 – Manchester, UK @ Band on the Wall

Mon. Sept. 5 – Glasgow, UK @ Classic Grand

Tue. Sept. 6 – Leeds, UK @ The Brudenell Social Club

Wed. Sept. 7 – Dublin, IE @ Academy

1. Intro

2. This Is A Photograph

3. A Random Act Of Kindness

4. Bittersweet, TN

5. Disappearing

6. A Coat Of Butterflies

7. Rock Bottom

8. Forever Inside A Picture

9. Five Easy Pieces

10. Stop Before I Cry

11. It’s Over

12. Goodbye To Good Times


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