Kevin Morby — „This Is a Photograph“ (13 May, 2022)

USA FLAG                                                  Kevin Morby — „This Is a Photograph“ (13 May, 2022)
••  FANTASTICKÉ ALBUM hned s několika bonbónky. Není nouze o písničkáře čerpající z velké americké písničkářské tradice. Následné snahy však až příliš často zvýrazňují vzdálenost mezi nenucenou, přirozenou inspirací nejuznávanějších jmen ve věži písní a poněkud studovanými faksimilemi jejich současných žáků. Minulé sólové výstupy Kevina Morbyho občas odpovídaly tomuto účtu: kvalita ano, ale ne zcela zásadní, zajímavá, aniž by přinesla K.O. standardní úder tam, kde to bolí. „This Is a Photograph“ to vše mění.
Birth name: Kevin Robert Morby
Born: April 2, 1988, Lubbock, Texas, United States
Location: New York ~ Montecito Heights, Los Angeles ~ Kansas City, Missouri
Album release: 13 May, 2022 
Record Label: Dead Oceans
Duration:     45:23
01. Intro   0:32
02. This Is a Photograph   3:30
03. A Random Act of Kindness   4:14
04. Bittersweet, TN   4:14
05. Disappearing   3:28
06. A Coat of Butterflies   6:40
07. Rock Bottom   2:44
08. Forever Inside a Picture   0:15
09. Five Easy Pieces   4:11
10. Stop Before I Cry   4:59
11. It’s Over   5:21
12. Goodbye to Good Times   5:15 

By Janne Oinonen 10 MAY 2022, 20:08 BST Score: 9
••  There is no shortage of singer~songwriters drawing from the great American songwriting tradition. All too often, however, the ensuing efforts highlight the distance between the effortless, natural~born inspiration of the most hallowed names in the tower of song and the somewhat studied facsimiles of their contemporary disciples. Kevin Morby’s past solo output has occasionally fit this bill: quality, yes, but not quite essential, interesting without delivering a K.O. standard punch to where it hurts. This Is a Photograph changes all that.
••  Inspired by flicking through childhood photos after a family health scare, the loosely themed songs (all of them top quality: this is one of those rare records that starts off strong and keeps getting better, more deep and resonant, with each track) set off from Morby’s personal and family history to explore the unstoppable yet sneaky disappearance of time (“the living took forever but the dying was quick’’, Morby quips on the aptly titled countrified beauty “Bittersweet, TN”) and the ghosts that haunt Memphis, the musically extra~ripe setting for the album’s recording.
••  Echoes of past masters ala Lou Reed, Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan continue to hover over the proceedings. Fittingly for an album recorded in the home town of the legendary Stax and Sun Studios, there are liberal sprinklings of soul and the directness of early rock ‘n’ roll, too. For an album recorded with a large cast of collaborators, there is a remarkably unified, organic ‘live’ feel to the proceedings: the title track builds up a sweaty momentum, whilst “Rock Bottom” (recorded at Sam Phillips Recording, a studio founded by the late Sun Records boss) sounds barely under control with its gleefully galloping energy.
••  At the other end of the spectrum, the spooky, sepia~tinged lament “Disappearing” and hypnotic, slow~burn meditation “A Coat of Butterflies” (featuring the harp of Brandee Younger and, in an unexpected cameo, modern jazz maestro Makaya McCraven on drums) are both haunted by the tragic end of Jeff Buckley, who drowned in Mississippi River in Memphis in 1997. Morby swerves from the album’s thematic thread only for “Stop Before I Cry”, a disarmingly direct ode to his partner Katie Crutchfield, aka Waxahatchee.
••  “They just don’t make them like that no more’’, Morby declares on the campfire strum~along “Goodbye to Good Times” that closes the record with references soul heroes Tina Turner and Otis Redding. Once This Is a Photograph has grabbed hold of you (and it will), you’re likely to disagree.
By Erin Osmon ⌊ 13th May 2022 ⌋ Score: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½
TW: Kevin Morby ©Johnny Eastlund