With his four acclaimed solo albums and myriad records of various collaboration, Kevin Morby has become a true musical auteur. Each record possesses its own unique persona and explores intriguing themes and fertile terrain through shifting, focused textures and dexterous, dedicated skill. And now, with the lavish, resplendent, career-best double LP Oh My God (out April 26th via Dead Oceans), Morby delivers a grandiose director's cut of his biggest statement to date, epic in scope as well as sound. Additionally, today Kevin shares the video for the album's first single, "No Halo," directed by Chris Good.
Throughout his past work, Morby has noticed the ubiquity of an apparent religious theme. Though not identifying as "religious" in the slightest, Morby recognizes in himself a somewhat spiritual being with a secular attitude towards the soulful. And so, in an effort to tackle that notion head-on and once-and-for-all, he sat down in his form of church—on planes and in beds—and wrote what would become his first true concept-album. If Singing Saw was Kevin's LA record, and City Music was his ode to New York City, then Oh My God lives in the sky, above the weather, both nowhere and everywhere at once.
"Religion is around all of us," Morby says. "It's a universal language and there is profound beauty in it. I've found it a useful tool within songwriting, as it's something everyone can relate to on some level. There are religious themes or imagery in a lot of what I've done, so I wanted to get all of that out and speak only that language for a whole record. It's not a born-again thing; it's more that 'oh my god' is such a profound statement we all use multiple times a day and means so many different things. It's not about an actual god but a perceived one, and it's an outsider's view of the human experience in terms of religion."
In 2016, on the heels of a trio of critically-acclaimed albums, he wrote the protest song "Beautiful Strangers" about the devastating world events of that year, and in it he inserted multiple "oh my god"s as pleas of desperation. The song became his most celebrated work to date and the phrase became a mantra for Morby, inspiring him to weave the exclamation conceptually into the fabric of an entire album. In effect, he sought to highlight how that immortal turn of phrase embodies so much of our relationship with the sacred and profane—how religion is all around us, always, and that by simply uttering an OMG we enforce its ubiquity and ability to endure while humanizing its reach.
JOE GIDEON with JIM SCLAVUNOS & GRIS DE LIN
In a review for his debut solo album Versa Vice in 2016, Joe Gideon was described as playing "Pithy, powerful, lyrically erudite and observational, post-financial crisis English blues." (Mike Barnes – Wire)
Joe Gideon first came to wider attention with his band, Bikini Atoll, signed to Bella Union in 2003. The first album, Moratoria, was critically well received, with the lead track 'Desolation Highway' (described by The Independent as "...an awesome, soul-searching slice of sprawling Americana") featured in the film My Little Eye. Their second album Liar's Exit, recorded with Steve Albini and released through Bella Union in 2005, received glowing reviews from the likes of NME and Q magazine.
Kevin Morby (Solo) / JOE GIDEON with JIM SCLAVUNOS & GRIS DE LIN