Kevin Morby Takes A Hard Look At God In America : All Songs Considered The singer reveals the stories behind his new album, Oh My God and shares some of the songs by other artists that inspired him to take his sound in a refreshing direction.
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Kevin Morby Takes A Hard Look At God In America

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Kevin Morby Takes A Hard Look At God In America

Kevin Morby Takes A Hard Look At God In America

Kevin Morby Takes A Hard Look At God In America

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/715988491/716205463" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Kevin Morby Barrett Emke/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Barrett Emke/Courtesy of the artist

Kevin Morby's new album is unlike anything he's done before. Gone is the guitar (for the most part) from his earlier recordings. In its place are more droning instruments — sounds more suited for church than the concert hall, including a recurring, small choir. The subject for the album is God and our culture's relationship with God, from deep introspection to the trivial, everyday use of that ever-present expression "oh my God."

The origins of his album Oh My God began in 2016 with events at the forefront of American politics, including mass shootings at the Bataclan and Pulse nightclubs, the death of Freddie Gray and, for Kevin Morby, the day-to-day news, including the Presidency of Donald Trump. (Kevin Morby wrote a one-off song in 2016 about the heartbreak of the world called "Beautiful Strangers," and donated proceeds to charity.)

On this edition of All Songs Considered we look at the origin story behind Oh My God, including Nina Simone's cover of Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne," music from Ethiopia and the quirky, groundbreaking New York duo Suicide.

Artists And Songs Featured On This Episode

Cover for Beautiful Strangers b/w No Place To Fall

Kevin Morby

  • Song: Beautiful Strangers
  • from Beautiful Strangers b/w No Place To Fall
YouTube

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Song
Beautiful Strangers b/w No Place To Fall
Album
Beautiful Strangers b/w No Place To Fall
Artist
Kevin Morby
Label
Dead Oceans
Released
2016

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Cover for The Best of Nina Simone

Nina Simone

  • Song: Suzanne
  • from The Best of Nina Simone

Note: The version of "Suzanne" featured on the program is a studio recording from The Best of Nina Simone. The video here shows the singer performing the song live in 1969.

YouTube

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Song
The Best of Nina Simone
Album
The Best of Nina Simone
Artist
Nina Simone
Label
RCA

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Cover for Oh My God

Kevin Morby

  • Song: Nothing Sacred / All Things wild
  • from Oh My God
YouTube

Buy Featured Music

Song
Oh My God
Album
Oh My God
Artist
Kevin Morby
Label
Dead Oceans
Released
2019

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Cover for Second Album + The First Rehearsal Tapes

Suicide

  • Song: Dream Baby Dream
  • from Second Album + The First Rehearsal Tapes
YouTube

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Song
Second Album + The First Rehearsal Tapes
Album
Second Album + The First Rehearsal Tapes
Artist
Suicide
Label
Mute

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Cover for Ethiopiques, Vol. 21: Ethiopia Song

Tsegue-maryam Guebrou

  • Song: The Homeless Wanderer
  • from Ethiopiques, Vol. 21: Ethiopia Song
YouTube

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Song
Ethiopiques, Vol. 21: Ethiopia Song
Album
Ethiopiques, Vol. 21: Ethiopia Song
Artist
Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou
Label
Buda Musique
Released
2006

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Cover for Ethiopiques, Vol. 4: Ethio Jazz & Musique Instrumentale, 1969-1974

Girma Hadgu

  • Song: Ené Alantchi Alnorem (I Can't Live Without You)
  • from Ethiopiques, Vol. 4: Ethio Jazz & Musique Instrumentale, 1969-1974
YouTube

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Song
Ethiopiques, Vol. 4: Ethio Jazz & Musique Instrumentale, 1969-1974
Album
Ethiopiques, Vol. 4: Ethio Jazz & Musique Instrumentale, 1969-1974
Artist
Mulatu Astatke
Label
Buda Musique

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Cover for Oh My God

Kevin Morby

  • Song: No Halo
  • from Oh My God
YouTube

Buy Featured Music

Song
Oh My God
Album
Oh My God
Artist
Kevin Morby
Label
Dead Oceans
Released
2019

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