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    Wednesday night, Louisville will welcome Kurt Vile to Headliners Music Hall. A musician that Pitchfork’s, Mark Richardson, describes as, “the weird quiet kid in the corner, the one who seems at first lost in his own world and disconnected from everything around him, but turns out to be smart, observant, and low-key hilarious.” I agree with Richardson, especially after chatting with him on the phone. 

    Kurt Vile’s songs are commentaries on human nature. He expresses what we didn’t know we wanted to express. “Lost my Head there,” the eighth track on the singer-songwriters latest album, “b’lieve i’m goin down,” does just this with lyrics like, “I don’t wanna sit around walk around today. I’d much rather levitate— didn’t wanna mess around, look around at all of it, but then I did though.” Vile has a way of connecting the listener in a way that feels very personal. Not personal in a way like he’s forming a relationship with the listener, it's more relatable, more comforting. Like, “Oh, you get it and so do I.”

    Even as I chatted casually with Vile, who’s laid back unexpected humor suggests I should just call him Kurt, like I’d known him my whole life. He told me about his last show in Dunedin, New Zealand. About how “the kids” in the small club were going wild over one of his earlier songs, “Girl Called Alex,” and how they were all singing the chorus with him. Even though I was on the phone in Louisville and he in Australia, I could see the humble smile and I understood what that must have been like. To be in a city in a different country and a whole club starts singing your song because they get you. This anecdote is an example of how he has a way of explaining things to make you understand, to help you “get it” and then somehow relate it back to your own life. That’s Kurt. That’s what he does so well in his music.

    “b’lieve i’m goin down” was released in 2015 and has impressed the likes of Rolling Stone, Pitchfork and Spin. It’s an album worth talking about. There are qualities to it that feel different from all the rest. Vile agrees. “There are songs like, “All in a Daze Work,” “Life Like This,” and “Wheelhouse” that definitely felt different. It’s a logical evolution, but it’s not like, ‘I found my sound’ either,” he explains. The folk rock back bone is still there. He’s just subtly added in elements like psych and funk.

    Another quality that sets this album and Vile a part is the sophistication, the serious nature of the sound laced with subtle humor. The structures, the riffs, they’re all dark, but then you hear a line like, “I gotta say, pretty gotta say, pretty pimpin,” that suggests the humanness of Vile’s songs.

    Vile has been extensively touring with the new album in the States and Europe. Kurt said when he’s on tour it feels like he’s “just playing music.” There’s a lot to be said about that kind of well-being. “I’m not living inside the new album or anything. I think I’m just living in the moment, but then also sort of living in the future, looking forward all the time. That’s the resource of inspiring things. The reason you play music,” he said.

    Kurt Vile and the Violators will play with Xylouris White at Headliners Music Hall Wednesday, February 24. Tickets are still available in advance for $20


    Image: Kurt Vile 

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    About Katie Molck

    Loretta Lynn is the best country music singer of all time and if you don't like pickled foods, you can leave.

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