I didn’t know Kevin Morby before listening to this concert. He was in two bands that I’ve also never heard of: Woods and The Babies.
Morby plays a kind of smooth folk (but somehow not really folky because the low end feels a bit more rocking). I found at least the song “Dorothy” to be kind of like Lou Reed–same style of delivery and groove, but on an acoustic guitar (and sounding far less like a disaffected New Yorker).
He plays three songs and his band consists of a drummer a bassist and a lead guitarist. He sings and plays acoustic guitar.
“Cut Me Down” is a mostly acoustic-feeling song (you can barely hear the electric guitar). He even takes the few leads that are there. The song has some good dramatic pauses, and then about half way through, it shifts to a new melody–the bassist and the electric guitar playing similarly high notes.
“Dorothy” is a much more interesting song to me. Even if I do feel lit sounds bit like Lour Reed. It’s on this song that guitarist Meg Duffy shines more. Her guitar has a cool echo effect on it. And while she’s not playing loud or hard, she’s got a cool sound, especially when she plays lead. On this song her lead guitar “substitutes” for other instruments. He sings that he could “get that piano” or “that trumpet” to play something like… and she gives a little solo (I particularly like the “trumpet” one). She also gets a chill proper solo.
But it’s the final song, “I Have Been to the Mountain” which is the most dramatic and interesting. In addition to the minor keys chords he plays, the bass comes in with a cool riff. And the chorus is intense. With good reason. The song is about 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?
But it’s not overstated or melodramatic. And Meg gets a cool solo in the middle as well.
[READ: February 23, 2016] “Over, Around, and Through, Your Highness”
I have gotten to the point where I pretty much don’t even read the New Yorker’s Shouts & Murmurs column anymore. Most of the pieces are an extended joke that could best be summed up by a few paragraphs rather than a whole page. But there are some authors who I will always give time to and Woody Allen is one of them.
His short funny pieces are not musings on a joke, they are actual stories that develop and usually reflect back on themselves by the end.
This piece opens with a movie producer bemoaning the state of things. In typical Woody Allen fashion, he plays with pop culture, talking about the latest film “Mourning Becomes Electra on Ice.” He notes that if he’s not careful his next job will be an easy one in which he answers the questions “Did you work last week? Did you look for work?”
And then he notices a Hollywood pusher named Hugh Forcemeat (ha) who is excited to see him because has he got a pitch for him!
The narrator is reluctant until Hugh asks him what the greatest romance of the twentieth century was. After giving some logical answers, Hugh responds with “the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.” The narrator ponders this and sees the merit in it. He imagines all of the interesting romantic interludes that such a story could reveal.
Until Forcemeat says they’re throwing all of that out and focusing on one thing.
And that when he shows the pitch. An anachronistic and ahistorical script shows the Duke of Windsor complaining to his wife. He is depressed because he had looked at the other club members’ ties and felt that thither knots were–rather meager.
And if you know anything about ties, you can see where this rather amusing story is headed.
Woody Allen still writes absurd humor like nobody else. I really enjoyed this a lot.