Free at Noon Flashback: Kevin Morby highlights City Music ahead of a holiday weekend

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Kevin Morby | Photo by Emma Silverstone for WXPN

Recalling Glen Campbell’s elaborate outfits, Kevin Morby stood at the center of the World Cafe Live stage dressed in a white suit with a cascade of music notes down the side and rhinestone initials on the lapels.

It may seem a little goofy, but it’s all about balance with the Texas native: lighthearted and charming on the outside, deep and introspective on the inside. Both qualities were on display today as he and and his band joined the Free at Noon crowd in support of his forthcoming City Music effort.

Highlighting the new record, which is set for a June 16th release via Dead Oceans, Morby opened with the instrumental soundscape of the title track before launching into the downtown garage rock of “Cry Baby.” Channeling Bob Dylan, “Aboard My Train” offered both poetic reflection and a blistering solo from guitarist Meg Duffy.

The band took some time to dig into last year’s Singing Saw as well. Sitting down at a Stealie-stickered keyboard, Morby eased into the meditative “Destroyer” – Duffy once again contributing a guitar slide-embellished solo that led into the heavier, rambunctious “I Have Been to the Mountain.” Between the fuzzy indie rock and subtle twang that rippled through the set, the band locked into deep grooves in the back half of “Cut Me Down,” which slipped seamlessly into “Dorothy.” The latter’s bouncing rhythm and fuzzed guitar tones recalled the Velvet Underground’s “Rock & Roll” and closed out the full band portion of the midday performance.

Now alone on stage, Morby shared a solo rendition of “Beautiful Strangers” – a protest song he released last year to benefit Everytown For Gun Safety. “Pray for Paris, they cannot scare us, or stop the music” he sang as he reminded us to live a life of love.

Morby and his band will stick around for a show at Johnny Brenda’s tonight; tickets and information can be found here.

Setlist

City Music
Cry Baby
Aboard My Train
Destroyer
I Have Been to the Mountain
Cut Me Down
Dorothy
Beautiful Strangers

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