Kevin Morby is a singer/songwriter from the Midwest who made a name for himself as the frontman for The Babies and the bassist for Woods. In 2013, he struck out on his own and began releasing solo albums. On April 15, Kevin released Singing Saw, an incredible album that will definitely sit near the top of many “Best of 2016” lists. With the release of Singing Saw, Kevin Morby solidifies his position among masters like Kurt Vile, Woods, Steve Gunn and others, whose style and sound push rock n roll forward and inspire new generations to continue to explore tactile instrumentation over auto-tune and computers.
Before starting on Singing Saw Kevin moved to Mount Washington, a neighborhood in Los Angeles, in the fall of 2014. He moved into a house that happened to have an upright piano with sheet music and a book with common piano chords. As a piano beginner, Kevin took advantage of his new situation (and new piano) and began writing songs that would eventually form Singing Saw. Finding inspiration during long walks through winding hills and side streets of his new neighborhood, Kevin began to shape the lyrical themes that would carry through Singing Saw. In an interview with Aquarium Drunkard Kevin says, “I made it a point that every night I’d go on an hour walk, as the sun went down, before it’d get too dark…I’d go walking around, and like anything, it kind of gets creepy in the dark…I think that’s the thing about Los Angeles in general. At night, something creepy happens to it. I like that.”
Singing Saw was also inspired by the new found stability in his life. His recent move to a home in Mount Washington with his girlfriend enabled him to stay focused on his music. In the same interview Kevin explains the affect of his new home, “The first two records, and even the last Babies album, those were written very much in transit…Where I live now, I’m with my girlfriend. It’s very comfortable, as rural as you can be in Los Angeles. There’s no distractions, it’s like a little paradise.”
Kevin was weary of settling down with a home, fearing that he’d lose his edge, but the opposite happened. He explains, “I’ve never had this much of a home before…I’m really happy with what came out of it, because the fear for an artist, someone like me who’s never been tied down to something — [who’s] always moving from different cities and apartments — the fear is, ‘If I settle down I’ll make my worst work.’ [but] being fully submerged in [Mount Washington] I was able to come out with my cohesive record. I live in this sort of cabin [like] house. It’s almost like I ended up in a fairy tale land.”
The result of Kevin Morby’s newfound home life, stability and neighborhood was incredible material that would become Singing Saw. And though he began Singing Saw in the comforts of his home in Los Angeles, Kevin recorded the album in Woodstock, New York, in a converted A-frame house with Sam Cohen of Apollo Sunshine & Yellow Birds. The album also features contributions from a number of people including John Andrews of Quilt, who plays the saw on ‘Cut Me Down’ and ‘Singing Saw’.
Singing Saw has been on repeat since it’s release for us. Check it out for yourself…
Photo by Dusdin Condren