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Album Review: Kevin Morby - 'This is a Photograph'

Updated: May 4, 2023

Born from a moment of great fear and anxiety by the collapse of his father while at dinner, The Photograph is perhaps Kevin Morby's most emotionally dense record to date. Morby has always been known as a great songwriter, but he's really outdone himself with The Photograph, and you can't help but feel that it was the initial intensity of those emotions with which he set out about writing that helped kick it off. To write this record, Morby traveled to Memphis, Tennessee and lived in a hotel in the shadow of the ghosts of Jeff Buckley and Graceland. Those influences are felt here, as are the stylings of the legendary Bob Dylan.

While The Photograph is rooted in Americana stylings, it is so much more than that. It's the same way that if one were to call Buckley's music or Wilco "Americana" that it would do a disservice to the music itself. Morby truly achieves something special with this record, perhaps the greatest moments are found on "A Random Act of Kindness", a track I felt myself gravitating towards throughout my time with this one. No there is Americana here but it's also heavily influenced by the singer/songwriter genre.

Thematically, The Photograph dares to dream and it honors those that dare to do so too. But it does so knowing that there is an inevitability and fragility to life. That's what makes living a daring life so difficult, because we all know what happens in the end. It's the easy way to play it safe and while there are many in music that do, Morby doesn't do so on this record. Give it a listen and dare to feel something different, you'll be glad you did.

Rating - 4.5/5

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