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Soul Searching in Memphis Led Kevin Morby to His New LP, ‘This Is a Photograph’

In January 2020, songwriter Kevin Morby witnessed his father collapse from a medical event while visiting his childhood home in Kansas. In a state of shock, the singer spent the evening looking at old family photos and fixated on an image of his father as a young man, looking, as Morby states, “full of confidence.” The experience forced Morby to confront both the idea of mortality and the passage of time — and, after an extended sojourn in Tennessee, these reflections came together in the form of his upcoming album, This Is a Photograph, out May 13 via Dead Oceans.

To mark the announcement, the singer released the record’s eponymous single, accompanied by a music video directed by Chantal Anderson. Produced by frequent Morby collaborator Sam Cohen, This Is a Photograph was primarily written in Memphis’ historic Peabody Hotel, where the singer-songwriter holed up in search of inspiration and self-realization amongst the city’s dark past.

“Memphis became the representation of all of the American cities and towns I wanted to talk about,” Morby said in a release about the album. “Because of all it had been through, there’s a resilience there that spoke to what we were all dealing with in different ways at the time.”

Interspersed with Morby family photos and archival images from the Peter J. Cohen Collection, the “This Is a Photograph” video finds the singer completely alone in a nondescript town — at times appearing contemplative, at others seemingly teetering on the edge of mania. At one point, Morby dons a suit and sings while clutching forcefully at a microphone, whipping himself into a frenzy as if preaching to an invisible congregation. “This is what I’ll miss after I die,” he exclaims during the song’s chant-like refrain. “And this is what I’ll miss about being alive.”

“Sam Cohen and I wanted to throw everything at the wall with this one,” Morby says of the song. “It’s about the battle every family faces, that of chasing the clock, to live our lives and hold onto one another for as long as possible. That, and, the dreams that come with being a young family in America and where those dreams eventually end up.”

Morby will also embark on an expansive tour of Europe and North America through the majority of 2022, which starts May 20 in Madrid, Spain and wraps Nov. 12 in Vancouver, BC.

Kevin Morby Tour Dates

Fri. May 20 – Madrid, ES @ TomavistasSat. May 21 – Biarritz, FR @ L’AtabalSun. May 22 – Montpellier, FR @ Le RockstoreMon. May 23 – Bordeaux, FR @ Rock School BarbeyTue. May 24 – Paris, FR @ Le BataclanWed. May 25 – Köln, DE @ KulturekircheThu. May 26 – Antwerpen, BE @ De RomaSat. May 28 – London, UK @ Wide Awake at Brockwell ParkSun. May 29 – Utrecht, NL @ TivoliVredenburgMon. May 30 – Hamburg, DE @ Uebel & GefährlichTue. May 31 – Berlin, DE @ MetropolWed. Jun. 1 – Schorndorf, DE @ ManufakturFri. Jun. 3- Angers, FR  @ LevitationSat. Jun. 4 – Clermont-Ferrand, FR @ La Cooperative de MaiMon. Jun. 5 – Lille, FR @ AéronefSun. Jul. 3 – Bologna, IT @ Covo SummerMon. Jul. 4 – Terni, IT @ Anfifteatro RomanoWed. Jul. 6 – Zagreb, HR @ MochvaraThu. Jul. 7 – Budapest, HU @ Akvárium KlubFri. Jul. 8 – Trencin, Slovakia @ Pohoda FestivalSat. Jul. 9 – Zittau, DE @ Lonesome Lake FestivalMon. Jul. 11 – Vienna, AT @ WUKTue. Jul. 12 – Munich, DE @ AmpereWed. Jul. 13 – Bern, CH @ GurtenfestivalFri. Jul. 15 – Lisbon, PT @ Super Bock Super RockSun. Aug. 21 – Erlanger, DE @ EwerkMon. Aug. 22 – Hannover, DE @ Café GlockseeWed. Aug. 24 – Copenhagen, DK @ PunpehusetSat. Aug. 27 – Prague, CZ @ MeetfactoryMon. Aug. 28 – Darmstadt, DE @ Golden Leaves FestivalWed. Aug. 31 – Brighton, UK @ ChalkSat. Sept. 3 – Dorset, UK @ End of the Road FestivalSun. Sept. 4 – Manchester, UK @ Band on the WallMon. Sept. 5 – Glasgow, UK @ Classic GrandTue. Sept. 6 – Leeds, UK @ The Brudenell Social ClubWed. Sept. 7 – Dublin, IE @ AcademyWed. Sept. 28 – Sonoma, CA @ Historic Redwood BarnThu. Sept. 29 – San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore Sat. Oct. 1 – Los Angeles, CA @ The BelascoMon. Oct. 3 – Tucson, AZ @ 191 TooleWed. Oct. 5 – Santa Fe, NM @ Meow WolfMon. Oct. 10 – Oklahoma City, OK @ Beer City Music HallTue. Oct. 11 – St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway NightclubWed. Oct. 12 – Bloomington, IN @ Buskirk-Chumley Theater Fri. Oct. 14 – Memphis, TN @ The Bluff Sat. Oct. 15 – Nashville, TN @ The Basement East Sun. Oct. 16 – Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West Tue. Oct. 18 – Jacksonville, FL @ Intuition Ale Works Thu. Oct. 20 – Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel Fri. Oct. 21 – Durham, NC @ Motorco Music Hall Sat. Oct. 22 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club Mon. Oct. 24 – Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair Tue. Oct. 25 – Ardmore, PA @ Ardmore Music Hall Wed. Oct. 26 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall Fri. Oct. 28 – Toronto, ON @ Danforth Music Hall Sat. Oct. 29 – Ferndale, MI @ The Magic Bag Mon. Oct. 31 – Chicago, IL @ The Vic Theatre Tue. Nov. 1 – Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall Ballroom Wed. Nov. 2 – Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line Music Cafe Thu. Nov. 3 – Kansas City, MO @ Knuckleheads Saloon Sat. Nov. 5 – Englewood, CO @ Gothic Theatre Sun. Nov. 6 – Fort Collins, CO @ Washington’s Tue. Nov. 8 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The CommonWealth Room Thu. Nov. 10 – Portland, OR @ Revolution Hall Fri. Nov. 11 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox Sat. Nov. 12 – Vancouver, BC @ Hollywood Theatre

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