From the nearly daily occurrence of ransomware attacks on high profile organizations, to digital media publications shuttering seemingly once a week, the internet can really feel like the wild west at times. Throughout all madness that the world wide web can shove through our consciousness, an artist like Kevin Devine can feel particularly centering. Kevin is someone who has been able to find an assemblage of friends at every point in his musical career and channel their life force into penchant, folksy, soul tinged music that speaks to the anxieties of the present moment, whatever present moment Kevin happened to find himself in. Kevin has been in a menagerie of groups throughout his career, from Miracle of 86, to Bad Books, which is him plus the members of Manchester Orchestra, plus a more than extensive solo catalogue. He’s become a sort of institution in New York City on the level of a Joe’s Pizza; Both have quietly and excellently been serving the community they have built for themselves for several decades now, and both serve as a bellwether that life in the future may indeed resemble something like the lives we once lead. Kevin, like everyone else on this humble planet, was locked inside for the majority of last year and wrote much of his new five song EP due out June 25th, No One’s Waiting Up for Me Tonight, in relative solitude, with each musician involved recording from the comfort of their home. Kevin said that the tape was a meditation on the freedom we gain by letting go of our need for control and going with the flow of the universe, or as he put it, “These five songs are about the freedom, and the opportunity for growth, that comes with the capacity to be in fealty to reality, to not deny that which is, or not try to bend that which is to your preference or will, but to just accept and respond.”
The tapes first single “Lakes on the Moon” is a particularly light and dreamy number that feels tailor made for a campfire. The song is spurned forward by Kevin’s acoustic guitar touches and a slight knocking of two wood blocks, almost as if the flow of Kevin’s consciousness is really what is really what is driving the song forward. The track seems to be a meditation on a relationship that has started to go through the motions, as the two parties realize that they need more than just Stockholm Syndrome keeping them together. The pair seems to resolve to stick by each other’s side and start making an effort again, as Kevin requests, “Whatever you do, take me too, please and thank you. The lakes on the moon, I forgive you.” It is a reminder that even the most comfortable of relationships take real work, care, and attention to stay strong throughout the years.
Kevin has putting his whole heart into his music for well over two decades now, and No One’s Waiting Up for Me Tonight shows that he still has plenty of heart to give. As long as Joe’s Pizza can stay in business, and the subways continue to crawl from the Bronx to Brooklyn, there will be an audience for Kevin Devine’s politically and socially aware rock and roll.