Kevin Morby – City Music

by Woody on June 13, 2017

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(photo by Adarsha Benjamin)

Last week I was taking the train home after having a few pops downtown. As I am apt to do, I’ll stand between cars watching the city go by so I don’t nod off. Conceived as “a mix-tape, a fever dream, a love letter dedicated to those cities that I cannot get rid of, to those cities that are all inside of me,” City Music was the perfect soundtrack as we ambled along through the neighborhoods set aglow by the streetlights.

City Music is less expansive than 2015’s Singing Saw. Whereas Morby saw Dylan Mitchell as his inspiration for Singing Saw, City Music steered toward Lou Reed and Patti Smith. That’s readily apparent from the onset. Come To Me Now is a longing love song with some wonderful pump organ. Crybaby sounds like vintage Reed, a dark tune that paints the protagonist as someone to avoid throughout the city.

There’s a nice homage to the Ramones in 1234 as the album moves to the title track, the centerpiece of the album. City Music has a guitar riff that reminded me Blues For Allah era Dead. The song has a 2 minute intro that is simply sublime. Listening to it caused the following happen as my fellow train traveler stared at me in bewilderment. I think I mumbled, “Uh, new Kevin Morby album. Its excellent.”

From there the back part of the album is chock full of gems. Night Time sounds like a tune that Morby would sing alone while in dank Lower East Side club. And the penultimate track Pearly Gates is an ethereal look at what Morby thinks it will be like when the big man calls time on his time here on Earth.

All in all, City Music has cemented Morby’s place among the premier songwriters around.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Kevin Morby is here

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