There are countless years speaking through the voice of Athens, Georgia musician Kimberly Morgan York, an artist for whom country and rock music can be distilled down into the essence of a life well-lived. Previously married to Drive-By Truckers drummer Brad Morgan, and counting producer David Barbe among her backing band, York has long since immersed herself into the musical humidity of countless Southern atmospheres.
Channeling the twang and earnest lyricism of Dolly Parton and Wanda Jackson, she dismantles rural stereotypes while illuminating the humor, joy, and ache of country life. After sharing Found Yourself a Lady and Keep on Goin’ in 2022 (though they were recorded in 2006 and 2021 respectively), she now looks to have a bit of fun on her latest release, an EP brought to fruition by accident in a bandmate’s basement. Devil Songs and Other Such Nonsense is a brief affair that speaks to York’s affection for Appalachian geographies and rhythmic sincerity – as well as the occasional indulgence in whimsical observation.
With her latest single, the slowly unfurling travelogue “The Devil’s in Durango”, York speaks to lonesome rambling and hard choices made while away from loved ones and familiar surroundings. Pedal steel shivers in the night air while her voice is torn between the fire of carnal possibilities and the warmth of a good body back in Georgia. The drums shuffle along, inevitably pulling us toward Durango and this bad situation – and for all our protestations, all we can do is watch and listen as it all unfolds. It’s an equally apt metaphor for the choices a musician has to make in the furtherance of their career, the hard road or the way back — it’s all up to them.
We feel an ache for the consequences of this decision, for the pain which will undoubtedly present itself when all is revealed. Desire and familiarity are at war, and York details this internal battle with all the nuance and heartache that comes from such a conflict. The song is timeless in its execution, revealing a quarrel of the heart which gives no reason and offers no answers.
Listen to the song below.
Kimberly Morgan York’s new EP, Devil Songs and Other Such Nonsense, is due out October 13. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram.