With the upheaval happening across the globe, it’s easy to forget the beauty that still exists in this world. It’s also easy to forget about how simpler moments can be equally transformative. For the great Kevin Morby, he, too, needed to refocus his mind and priorities. After spending several years from one metropolis (New York) to another (Los Angeles), he recently returned home to Kansas City, and there he reconnected with the life he once knew. Earlier this month, he shared the mellow yet graceful “Campfire”, which captured the Midwest twilight and the fire that still burned inside him. Two days ago, he shared two more songs – “Don’t Underestimate Midwest American Sun” and “Wander” – from his upcoming new album, Sundowner, and both are simple stunners.
“Don’t Underestimate Midwest American Sun” is minimalist Americana at its most beautiful. The orchestration is simple, and the approach allows each element to breathe and shine. Whether it’s the delicate acoustic guitar or the slight tickles of the ivory keys, the notes are breathtaking like the most captivating landscapes of the world. Morby’s voice, meanwhile, is tranquil and calming. Despite this story of two people losing themselves within their newfound existentialism, they cannot escape the realities that rage around them.
“God-bless and pray for American daughters and sons
Try as they might to take flight with clipped wings but some won’t
Do what they want and say what they will
Nothing will cover the faith that’s been spilled
God-bless and pray our American waters and suns”
On “Wander”, Morby delivers his shortest song, which is less than two minutes long. The track is gritty folk-rock reminiscent of Dylan, Petty, and Young of the ’70s, and the simple arrangement provides the ideal backdrop to Morby’s introspective examination of his existence. He often asks himself, “I wonder as I wander why was I born in the wild wonder”. He further attempts to understand his ordeal, wondering out loud if this is all just a dream. But in this tumultuous world, a little bit of idealism and escapism might be enough for us to hold on.
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