I do hope you enjoy both versions of the song and if you do decide to donate – thank you for contributing to what I believe to be a great cause.
I wrote Baltimore at the time I was conceiving both Singing Saw and City Music and recorded a version during both sessions with two different bands.
There, Morby developed a fast friendship with producer/bandleader Sam Cohen (Apollo Sunshine, Yellow Birds), which led Morby to forgo recording in Los Angeles and take the nascent songs of Singing Saw to Isokon Studios in Woodstock, New York.
Morby opens Singing Saw with "Cut Me Down", a song of tears, debts and a prescient vision of being reduced to nothing. “The rumbling din of urban landscapes and the millions of stories that unfold there are, collectively, a kind of ‘city music.’ For singer Kevin Morby, it’s a sound he celebrates and romanticizes on his new album” – City Music is a levitating glimpse into the city experience in general, with an expansion of urban ambience that feels physical and interactive through these vintage tunes enhanced with modern amplification.
"I Have Been to the Mountain", "Destroyer" and "Black Flowers" continue to explore beauty and freedom, seizing upon the rot that seeps into even the supposedly safest of realms; peace, family and romantic love. – After playing Primavera Sound in Barcelona and Field Day in London this past weekend, Kevin’s on his way to Bonnaroo.
The duality of the city itself began to shape a set of lyrical ideas that he would refine with the sparse accompaniment of piano and acoustic guitar. It is an instrument that creates ethereal sounds, but it is also a tool: basic and practical while also being fearsome, even destructive.
Morby watches the singing saw in its eponymous song; that instrument of eerie soft beauty cuts down the flowers in its path and chases after him, while his surroundings mock and dwarf him, Alice in Wonderland style.
It is a record of duality, one that marks another stage of growth for this young, gifted songwriter with a kind face and a complicated mind.
In the Autumn of 2014, Kevin Morby moved to the small Los Angeles neighborhood of Mount Washington. Sam Cohen added a multitude of instrumentation to the record (guitar, bass, drums and keyboard), and were joined by fellow Complete Last Waltz alum Marco Benevento on piano and keyboard, fleshing out Morby's original compositions and upholding the vision for a cohesive piano sound that serves as a touchstone for the entire album. Backup vocalists Hannah Cohen, Lauren Balthrop and Alecia Chakor contribute soaring harmonies; Nick Kinsey (Elvis Perkins) adds drums and percussion; Justin Sullivan, a longtime Morby collaborator and staple of his live band, contributes drums; Oliver Hill and Eliza Bag lift numerous songs with string accompaniments, and Alec Spiegelman on saxophone and flute and Cole Kamen-Green on trumpet bring dramatic swells. Having the support of successful, working musicians is incredibly meaningful for our students as they aspire to succeed through an education in music. “Baltimore (Sky At Night)” features Sam Cohen on bass, Nick Kinsey on drums and Marco Benevento on piano. Finally, John Andrews (Quilt) adds the eerie lilt of the album's promise, providing saw on the "Cut Me Down" and "Singing Saw".