6th June 2023
Time: 19:00 - 23:00
Price: £19.50 + BF
- “This is a photograph.”
The story begins with Kevin Morby, absentmindedly flipping through a box of old family photos in the basement of his childhood home in Kansas City. Anything to take his mind off the events of earlier that day. Just hours before, at a family dinner, his father had collapsed in front of him at the table and had to be rushed to the hospital. Hours later, Morby still felt the shock and fear lodged in his bones.
So he gazed at the images until one of the pictures jumped out at him: his father as a young man, proud and strong and filled with confidence, posing on a lawn with his shirt off. It was a jarring moment; remembering the frailty and loss of control he had witnessed earlier in the evening and yet seeing this portrait of great strength and confidence that resided inside the same man.
This was in January of 2020. As the months went on and the world dramatically changed around him, Morby felt an eerie similarity between his feelings of that night and the atmosphere of those spring days. Fear, anxiety, hope and resilience all churning together. The themes began twisting in his mind. History, trauma and the grand fight against time. Having the courage to dream, even while knowing the tragedy that often awaits those who dare to dream. While his father regained his strength, Morby meditated on these ideas. And then, he headed to Memphis.
- “If you go down to Memphis, please don’t go swimming in the Mississippi River.”
He had visited the city before of course. But this trip felt different. It called to him as both a place to begin writing on these new themes and also one that could further enhance his vision.
“Memphis became the representation of all of the American cities and towns I wanted to talk about. 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.”
He moved into the Peabody Hotel, Room 409. The once vibrant epicenter of the downtown had a taken on a haunted quality, further underscoring Morby’s own feelings about mortality. His days were spent paying tribute and genuflecting to the dreamers he admired. On these gray afternoons, Morby would walk to the Lorraine Motel, pausing for a moment of reflection outside and then head down to the banks of the Mississippi River, to the spot where Jeff Buckley met his end. He’d wander around the neighborhood where Jay Reatard spent his last day then drive by the Stax marquee for a brief lift in his spirits. Then cruise out past Graceland, before traversing Highway 61, letting the ghosts call to him and shape his own dreams.
It was a perfectly disparate series of inspirations, all speaking to his meditations on time and what we do with the little of it that we have. In the evening, he would return to his room and document his new ideas on a makeshift recording set-up, with just his guitar and a microphone. The songs, elegiac in nature, befitting all he had seen, poured out of him.