I traveled back to a state that I like to call a second home, Missouri. The time was filled with my friends' Abbie and Carson's December wedding and lots of exploring in the single-digit temperatures. My friend Austin and I took a mini-road trip from Kansas City, MO to Lawrence, KS. As we drove down Massachusetts Ave. we found the 28-year-old record store, Love Garden Sounds. We only wished Columbia, MO had a similar spot back in the day, that hosted intimate gatherings like the one we were about to see.
We shuffled to a spot behind the soundboard where the shop's owner, a local photographer, and who then we realized were Kevin Morby's parents standing nearby. Midwestern Indie acts (Kevin Morby, Anna St. Louis, Brooke Tuley and Bloodbirds) shared the floor, where they performed as a backing band for each other during a show of originals and a few covers.
The store was crowded with all types of people - college students, folk who drove in from KC, friends/families of the artists, a wandering cat that belonged to the owner of the shop among the crowded shop. The little details of the setting, the artists' stories throughout the sets, and a few surprises made the free event very special and one of my favorites of the year.
Kansas City native, Kevin Morby, told a story of being thirteen years old walking into the record store for the first time. Morby said "now here I am playing with some of my best friends close to home and congratulating my parents today on their anniversary."
Morby covered "Colorado Girl" by Townes Van Zandt crooning the lyrics "mama don't you cry." His mother, Sandy lit up as she filmed most of the song. He performed another cover "Look at Ms. Ohio," by Gillian Welsh and a song from his early band, The Babies called "Mess Me Around." As the show went on, a recognizable girl with bangs sat on the stairs eating a slice of pizza behind the band. We realized eventually it was Katie Crutchfield from Waxahatchee.
Crutchfield and Morby later performed a couple of cover duets by Indie legend, Jason Molina. The songs, Farewell Transmission and The Dark Don't Hide It, were recently released on NPR's All Songs Considered, where they dive deeper on why they chose to cover those songs specifically. I was fascinated by how they wrote out all of the lyrics of "Farewell Transmission," breaking down the lyrics and parts, understanding who he was and his battle against alcoholism.
As the night came to a close, Bloodbirds transitioned the indie-acoustic mood to a rock-heavy atmosphere. Morby stood on top of a chair, and he brought the crowd and audience together as we all sang an endearing rendition of "Stand By Me." The disco ball, rubbing elbows with Sandy Morby (Kevin's mom) and seeing Waxa-Katie chillin' and eating pizza.
All around magic ensued in the middle of the map of Lawrence, KS.