THIS IS A PHOTOGRAPH OF MEMPHIS: 5 THINGS WITH KEVIN MORBY
In October 2020, while still in lockdown, musician Kevin Morby drove his truck from Kansas City to downtown Memphis, Tennessee to live and work on the writing of what would become his 7th full-length album, This Is A Photograph. With the virus in its second surge he let the natural world as well as the life and times of various American icons be his guide to Memphis and other surrounding areas of the south. He found solace in rivers, highways, zoos, mausoleums, birds, cemeteries, abandoned buildings, his room at the Peabody hotel and taking photos with his Pentax pc35 during this complicated moment in time.
We were honored to host his solo photo show exhibition, This Is A Photograph Of Memphis, which showcases these captured moments of inspiration at the Gallery at Ace Brooklyn the week of his album’s release, along with a surprise pop-up show in the garden which also featured his partner, Katie Crutchfield (Waxahatchee).
Kevin shares 5 points of inspiration that infused his songwriting on This Is A Photograph:
JEFF BUCKLEY – I found myself very interested in, for the first time, Jeff Buckley’s life and career. I wrote the bulk of my album while temporarily living in Memphis, where Buckley tragically passed away in 1997. I spent a lot of my days revisiting his old haunts and following the bread crumb trail of his last days.
THE PEABODY HOTEL – I lived out of the Peabody Hotel in Downtown Memphis for a few week period during quarantine in 2020. It’s a very elaborate and very southern hotel complete with a duck procession through the lobby every morning and evening. It was a bizarre time to be holed up in such a hotel, but I found it a very inspiring place to work.
OLD FAMILY PHOTOS – During the writing of this album I happened upon dozens, if not hundreds, of old family photographs that I became enamored in. Photos of my parents, or their parents, or their parents’ parents just figuring it out and trying to make something of their dreams. I, almost more than anything else, find it fascinating how good of a photographer everyone used to be whether they meant to be or not.
TAKING PICTURES – After unearthing all these old family photographs I found it important to document my own life in a similar fashion. I’ve taken photos for years, but I tried to have my camera on me almost all of the time. Arming yourself with a camera often feels like holding the keys to the universe. Everything suddenly feels like an adventure and you end up getting into situations or going places you never would have otherwise.
MEMPHIS, TN – Memphis was perhaps my ultimate muse for this album. It is a city that honors its past in a very important and very inspiring way. During the quarantine I found the present moment terrifying and very uninspiring. But Memphis acted as this window into the past that I found fascinating and often inspiring. Though the past, at any moment in history, isn’t without its own complications, it felt like a safe place for me to explore given the unprecedented times we were living in.
Ace Hotel New Orleans | April 27, 2023
PLANETS ALIGN: SIX OF SATURNS WITH TEEDRA MOSES & THE ARTIST JADE
Six of Saturns is our annual ode to the sounds, visions and fabled collaborative spirit of the Crescent City. For two weeks during the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival we gather to revel in the beats of the bayou, its musical legacy and commune with stage legends + artists of every feather. No two artists could be more reflective of this spirit than Nola born Teedra Moses and The Artist Jade who share the stage on SoS’s inaugural weekend.
Ace Hotel New Orleans | February 23, 2023
WILDS OF THE INTERIOR: A conversation with phlegm
A conversation with phlegm, a New Orleans born and based artist who works in face painting and self portraiture. He is inspired by Black cultural tone from across the diaspora; pulling inspiration from the Black Masking Indians of New Orleans, the Dogon of Mali, the Fulani of Nigeria, and the Zouli dance of Ivory Coast.wilds of the interior is a collection of work that aims to answer his question, “what parts of myself are hidden to me?”.