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Korby Lenker's 8th Studio LP 'Man in the Maroon' Out May 21

In March of 2020, Korby found himself marooned at home in East Nashville after his 150 show a year touring schedule ground to a halt.

Korby Lenker's 8th Studio LP 'Man in the Maroon' Out May 21

Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, road warrior, published author, screenwriter and storyteller, Korby Lenker, will release his eighth studio album, Man in the Maroon, on May 21st via Grind Ethos Records, co-produced by Korby and Skylar Wilson. The LP's eleven tracks include nine songs penned by Korby, a reading of an original short story and an ethereal cover of the timeless classic, "Moon River."

"Each song feels like its own little movie," Korby says. "Some artists like to work within a tight palette, but I've always created records that mirror the shows I play, where there's a lot of diversity between songs. I like to take people to the different places I've been. I'm in my 40s, so I've lived a little bit, you know? The longer you're above ground, the more experiences you have... I try to pepper my shows and albums with little vignettes of those experiences, in as many colors as I can."

In March of 2020, Korby found himself marooned at home in East Nashville after his 150 show a year touring schedule ground to a halt. Man in the Maroon was recorded during the pandemic. Korby recalls: "I remember thinking, 'who knows what's going to happen tomorrow?' and I wanted to create an album as though it were the last thing I'd ever make. A for-the-joy-of-it project," says the songwriter.

The album kicks off with a "All In My Head," an electric, indie folk rocker that reflects on depression and was written during Korby's nightly jogs that coincided with the 8:00 howl - a 2020 East Nashville, pandemic tradition. "Crow Country" was written during a time of grief and self imposed isolation in Montana following the sudden, unexpected passing of his younger sister. Korby unplugged, went on hiatus from the music industry and moved out west for the summer. It features the songwriter on the clawhammer banjo and Native American artist/Grammy Award winning singer, Bill Miller, on vocals and Native American Flute. "It's about this specific place, Crow Country, but it's also about a place that maybe exists in your mind, where you can go and visit the people in your life you've loved and lost."

The gentle, "Soft as A Cactus," is a love song for introverts. "For me, love is a lazy Sunday afternoon bike ride with my girl, to no place in particular." Immediately following is "Paper Cuts," a groovy, full band, all-or-nothing break up song featuring Erin Rae on vocals. "What's Wrong with Us" finds the singer on piano, ruminating on his family of origin and wondering, "what if everyone is doing the best they can?" "Now I Once Thought That I Was Strong" is the songwriter's country gospel tune, inspired by his grandfather and brother (both preachers) and spotlights the piedmont style of playing guitar made famous by Mississippi John Hurt.

"Billie Louise" is a bluegrass tinged instrumental dedicated to the daughter of close friends. Born with medical complications and now thriving, Korby would play this composition for Billie during her stay in the NICU. Distinct influences of Todd Snider can be heard on "Christmas Rain," Korby's wry, irreverent take on enduring the holidays after a breakup. "Some folks say, I got a way / of turnin' pretty diamonds into coal.

"Tri State Lottery," finds Korby alone at the piano. "This song is about what it means to me to do this for a living, trying over and over again to get it right. To write one good song. I wrote it on piano and got to record it on the old Steinway they used for the Johnny Cash Show back in the seventies. Those low notes sent a shiver through me when I heard the playback. This is a really personal song to me."

In addition to a fruitful music career, Korby is also an published author of acclaimed fiction. His 2015 collection of short stories Medium Hero received critical praise of such varied sources as Steve Wozniak and Kirkus Reviews. Korby brings his into a knack for writing into a new medium with a live-reading of "Mose and Ella" a new original short story written for Korby's patreons, but never published. "I put everything into it I felt about the oxymoron of being a creative person decades into it -- how you have to be disciplined but spontaneous, whimsical but serious."

The album culminates with the singer's dreamy interpretation of one of his lifelong favorites, "Moon River." "I like things to be new and old at once. I looked around my studio and found this little toy keyboard," he says. "There's no on/off switch, it's just always on. I don't know how the batteries aren't drained. Also it makes this nasally sound, like a honk from an old nose. Truly the sound of plastic. Perfect. I made that the solo instrument of my new track and built an orchestral arrangement around it. I tried to combine the fresh and the familiar, the modern and the classic. That's pretty much what I'm trying to do with my music and writing. It's all there in Moon River."

"The record is an extension of my live show," Korby says, "and whenever I play live, my job is to make people forget where they are. I want them to be absolutely present, and I want to give them something that resonates, after the show is over, for as long as possible. It's really hard to get noticed, to draw skittish eyes your way, but once you have them, you should be trying to give people something that merits the attention. I think about that a lot... It's not enough to distract. I want to change the world."

Korby Lenker has released seven studio albums, toured nationally and internationally up to 200 dates a year, published a 2015 collection of short stories, Medium Hero, created and stars in a developing television series, Morse Code. He has won or been a finalist in several song contests, including Merlefest, New Song Contest, Kerrville, Rocky Mountain Folks Fest and the International Songwriting Competition.

Following the release of Man in the Maroon, Korby will play select dates and return to regular touring as soon as possible. He plans to continue to write new music, new fiction, and film new episodes of Morse Code throughout 2021.

The Bluegrass Situation premiered the album's first single, "All In My Head."

Photo Credit: David McClister


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