Kevin Morby’s “Campfire” sparks joy among fans

Since the beginning of quarantine in March, the music industry has been forced to an abrupt and disappointing hault. Despite the inability for artists to tour and perform live for fans, some are utilizing this time in solitude to make and share new music – one of them being indie folkstar Kevin Morby. 

Morby released his new single, “Campfire,” on Sept. 1 with the announcement of his new record, “Sundowner,” the follow-up to last year’s critically-acclaimed album, “Oh My God.” The new album is set to release on Oct. 16 through Dead Oceans. 

“Campfire” echoes some of Morby’s older material, such as that of his third studio album, “Singing Saw,” offering an authentic sound from the Four Track Tascam model 424 it was recorded on. The lyrics pay tribute to the passing of several of Morby’s friends and muses from 2018 including Anthony Bourdain, Richard Swift and Jessi Zazu. The song and accompanying music video feature Katie Crutchfield, a singer-songwriter by the name of Waxahatchee, who is also Morby’s partner. 

“Where have all of my friends gone? Where did all of my friends go,” Morby inquires into the void of the Castle Rock Badlands, where the video was filmed. The song’s pause before transitioning melodies is filled by Crutchfield waiting for Morby in a Ford F-100, reminiscent of that on her album cover for “Saint Cloud,” released earlier this year. 

Sundowner is a term defined by Morby as “one who feels increased melancholy during twilight hours.”

“It is a depiction of the nervous feeling that comes with the sky’s proud announcement that another day will be soon coming to a close as the pink light recedes and the street lamps and house lights suddenly click on,” Morby wrote in a biography of the album shared on his website. The biography also features Morby’s experiences while writing, recording and after the album was produced. 

Though the album was written in late 2017, it being released during the middle of a pandemic in 2020 feels coincidently appropriate. It was gradually executed in Morby’s hometown of Kansas City, in a makeshift recording studio constructed out of a shed in his backyard. “It is not lost on me that my life in quarantine has many parallels to my life when I wrote ‘Sundowner,’” Morby wrote. 

Beginning Sept. 10, Morby will be performing each of his six albums in full every Thursday leading up to the release of “Sundowner” in collaboration with Noon Chorus, an online music platform that launched in April. Tickets are available for $15 on Noon Chorus’ and Morby’s websites, along with a money-saving bundle for tickets to all six live streams, as well as a virtual meet and greet session with Morby. 

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