In April, idiosyncratic folk artist Kurt Vile signed to Verve Records and released his new album Watch My Moves, the follow-up to his 2018 album Bottle It In. The LP was self-produced alongside Rob Schnapf, who’s known for working with monumental artists like Elliott Smith and Beck, and it featured collaborators like Chastity Belt and Cate Le Bon. Before it came out, he unveiled “Like Exploding Stones,” “Hey Like A Child,” and “Mount Airy Hill (Way Gone)” as singles, and last night he brought the latter to The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
His performance is laid-back but transcendent and colorful, finding connection in tranquil, sluggish sounds. Vile’s vocals are eccentric and intriguing, especially as he ricochets from soprano notes to baritone notes within a matter of seconds.
When the song was first unleashed, he said about it: “When Waylon Jennings became an outlaw country artist, he liked to record at Hillbilly Central, which was Tompall Glaser’s studio. OKV Central is my version of that in Mount Airy. I’ve come into my own here, and at the same time I’m getting back to my home-recording roots.” It’s simultaneously polished and lo-fi, retaining a sense of grit.
Watch his performance of “Mount Airy Hill (Way Gone)” above.