When Kevin Devine’s phone rings with my call, he has already been awake for several hours. While I was in a fit of restless sleep, he was hanging out with his young daughter, taking her to daycare, and writing a new song, working out behind-the-scenes kinks of his upcoming shows in Brooklyn, and getting sucked into a Youtube rabbit hole while trying to find a video to send to his friend on her birthday. In fact, he was watching a series videos of the Beatles talking about Bob Dylan and Bob Dylan talking about born-again Christianity in the seconds before I dialed his number. Next week, Devine is set to release We Are Who We’ve Always Been, an album comprised of stripped-back acoustic renditions of his 2016 album Instigator, a record anchored by fuzzy guitars and raucous energy.
“I thought it would be cool to see how that translated if you took away the volume and the built-in dynamics you get with a rock band,” he explained of the decision to release an acoustic record. “To me, it’s always about like, how do you make a song stand up however it’s presented? I want to be able to sit in a room with you and play you a song and have that be as impactful as if you were in the middle of a crowd of five or six hundred people with a killer sound system and an excellent band. I think that they need to be as good in both ways for them to matter to me.”