August 1, 2016 by BOB BOILEN • The music of Kevin Morby is fairly straightforward and acoustic for the most part, with traditional, folk-based rock at its core. The mystery and intensity lies in the lyrics. His biting song "I Have Been To The Mountain," performed here at the Tiny Desk and on his 2016 album Singing Saw, was inspired by the 2014 chokehold death of Eric Garner at the hands of a New York City police officer.
That man lived in this town
Till that pig took him down
And have you heard the sound
Of a man stop breathing, pleading?
In this set, Meg Duffy's guitar provides a strong example of the care and craft that goes into these songs — and there's even more of that on Singing Saw, the album that finally hooked me on Morby's music even after good records he'd made with the bands Woods and The Babies, as well as two other solo albums. If you're a latecomer like me, dig in here. If you're already a convert, you'll likely love the clarity of these songs and their stark arrangements.
"Singing Saw" is available now
"Cut Me Down"
"I Have Been To The Mountain"