The songs of Kentucky-born singer-songwriter Kimberly Morgan York act as pseudo-chapters to her own life, vignettes that speak of affection, ache, regret, and hope. Drawn from experiences both good and bad, they reflect the struggles of someone whose world has been shaken by tornadic emotional devastation and the occasional euphoric high. York’s voice has a clarion quality to it, a concise and conversational perspective that aids in getting to the heart of her intimate narratives.
“All of my music is based on real life…heart ache, perseverance, joy, abuse, struggle, victory, and love,” York says. “I want listeners to be able to connect to my music… to see reflections of their own stories in mine. I hope my songs make people feel less alone in their journey. I also want to entertain them and inspire people to laugh and let go.”
She released her debut album, Found Yourself a Lady, with The Everlovin’ Band earlier this year and followed that up with Keep on Goin’, which came out July 22. Using the communal twang of country music as support for her divergences into rockier territories, she walks a line between denser rhythmic atmospheres and lighter, sparser environments. She’s spoken of artists like Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn and Drive-By Truckers influencing her sound, but you can also hear the emotional-soaked stories of Brandi Carlile and Lydia Loveless rising to the surface as well.
Taken from Keep on Goin’, “Numb” is a dark and disquieting look at love and how we often see past people’s flaws when our heart is involved. Over shivering guitar lines, York’s plainspoken voice, and a beat that carries us off toward the horizon, the song paints a portrait of affection tainted by cruelty and suffering. “This song is about loving someone with mental illness or addiction,” York explains. With lines like “let me go numb before you do / so I can’t feel it when you don’t care what you’re doing”, she isn’t talking about changing behaviors — she’s talking about survival.
Filmed by Erica Strout, the accompanying video is a harrowing and heartbreaking look at domestic violence and how it strips people of their identities and happiness. The clip also shows how victims often feel as though they have no way out, stuck in a never-ending cycle of abuse that threatens to engulf them, emotionally and physically. It’s bleak and offers no resolution, but that’s the reality for many people who find themselves in these kinds of situations.