Kevin Morby and Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield Stay Grounded with Sunset Walks and Chicken Pho

Kevin Morby and Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield Stay Grounded with Sunset Walks and Chicken Pho
“The sunsets really linger here. Especially in the summer, they can stick around for a really long time,” the musician Kevin Morby said by Zoom earlier this week. He and Katie Crutchfield, the frontwoman and songwriter of Waxahatchee, were sitting in their salmon-colored living room in Kansas City, bathed in the last few hours of light. It’s a theme for Morby, whose latest album, Sundowner, lands Friday with an accompanying livestream show. His website defines sundowner as “one who feels increased melancholy during the twilight hours,” which rings true at a time when nightlife is shuttered, leaving us to disappear into our phones. 

Incidentally, that’s where Crutchfield and Morby have turned up in recent months, offering unlikely salvation. Beginning early in quarantine, they tuned in for “weekly rodeos” on Instagram Live: an hour-long duet toggling between his songs and hers. Domestic and warm, it felt like a candle in the window of a country house: a safe haven after dark. Crutchfield’s own album, Saint Cloud, dropped in late March, as the confusion of the pandemic swirled. “There were peaks and valleys of the whole experience,” she recalled of the unconventional rollout, stripped of a tour’s celebratory release. “But I think people connected with it in a way they maybe wouldn’t have. There’s a lot of darkness, but a lot of hope at the same time.” 

The couple has been stationed in Kansas City, Morby’s hometown, for a good part of their three and a half years together—a retreat between tours. (Incidentally that’s why he thinks they relish the sunsets so much: Musicians are always stuck inside venues at that time.) “We were gearing up to spend a lot of this year apart,” Crutchfield said, but instead the downtime has seen them knit together in new ways: Morby lending vocals to her livestream sets; Crutchfield turning up in his videos for “Campfire” and “Wander.”

“A lot of things have been resonating that maybe didn’t before, like Badlands,” said Morby. “That’s a movie about two people, just them against the world. It really feels like it’s just Katie and I.” (And his nunchucks, which have become a fan favorite: “Idle hands are the devil’s playground,” Morby added.) For this wellness diary, then, it made sense for the couple to go about it together: Vietnamese soup and mental-health strategies (his meditation, her Zoom therapy) and a horror-movie marathon. “We started with I Know What You Did Last Summer and Scream, and then we took a hard right to Hitchcock,” says Morby. Psycho as cure in uneasy times.

Tuesday, October 6

8:15 a.m. Katie: My best friend Marlee spent the night on her way to Michigan to see her family. She and I walked to the park by our house, did a few laps around. We talked and caught up and got a little exercise. Morning is my favorite time of day, and getting out into the world as early as I can always feels really grounding.

10 a.m. Kevin: I go for a walk around a lake near our house while I make some work calls. This is something I’ve really made a point to do during quarantine—to be in motion and outside while doing monotonous work. Exercise has been so essential to my mental health and I try to begin each day with either a run or swim. But on days when I’m busy, like today, I at least do a walk.

12 p.m. Katie: I research painting kitchen cabinets and solicit advice from my bass player/interior design expert Jacki Warren, then start painting our kitchen a nice bright white shortly thereafter. House projects have been big for me lately. We spend so much time in our house, which has led me to notice little ways to customize it.

1:15 p.m. Katie: I go to therapy. My therapist’s name is Irene and she’s amazing. I started with her right before the pandemic, and it’s become such a big part of my week. I think of therapy as sort of Self-Care 101. It’s always where I start when people ask me what I do to feel sane in this anomalous time.

A quiet corner at home.
Courtesy of Kevin Morby. 

6 p.m. Kevin: Katie and I go for a ride in my truck. We drive into the city listening to Blaze Foley, Jackson C. Frank, and Justin Townes Earle. With nowhere to go, it’s good to just aimlessly drive sometimes, to get out of the house and let your mind drift. I love driving through downtown Kansas City. Kansas at night—it’s dark and desolate and reminds me of being in Texas.

8 p.m. Kevin: We return home and order chicken pho, my all-time favorite meal—always so healing, especially during a week of doing interviews and talking a lot. We put on the NBA finals. I’ve always been a sports fan but it’s been crucial this year. It’s something to concentrate on that’s not politics or the music industry. It’s really become a safe place for me. Katie: I’m a big basketball fan. I became interested in it when I got sober because it gave me something to focus on and look forward to at night that wasn’t drinking. When the NBA season resumed, it became a big part of our day-to-day.

Wednesday, October 7

5 a.m. Kevin: I can’t sleep. It’s a busy week and, with a lot on my mind, my sleep has been uneasy, so I do my transcendental meditation. I started doing TM a few years ago to help me sleep better on tour, and it never lets me down.

8:30 a.m. Katie: Wake up, make coffee, do a few dishes from last night, admire the new kitchen paint job. i then have the idea to paint the bathroom while i’m at it, which is the slippery slope of DIY house projects.

9 a.m. Kevin: I go for a three mile run. This is often my favorite part of the day in quarantine. It clears my mind and gives me a clean slate before diving into whatever I have ahead of me. It’s always a toss-up if I’ll run in the morning or evening, but today I chose the morning.

12 p.m. Kevin: Katie and I finish watching Psycho, which we fell asleep to the night before. We’re trying to watch a scary movie every day up until Halloween. We’ve had movies constantly in the background. There’s always either a movie on or a record playing; it helps the house feel alive. We’re on a Hitchcock kick.

4 p.m. Katie: I have a nice catchup talk with Jake, my friend and drummer. Calling people, keeping my friends close despite months apart, has been a big part of my routine. We live in Kansas City, and although we have a good community of friends here, our closest people all live elsewhere. Finding time to keep in touch with my dearest friends is major.

6 p.m. Kevin: I have to sign 400 copies of my new album to be sent to fans. This takes up the whole living room, as Katie and I set up an assembly line where I sign and stack and she packs. I’ve been decorating album covers of mine throughout quarantine, and the process has become very meditative, so I’m happy to sign these albums. It’s repetitive in a way that allows me to relax. I’ve been listening to a new podcast called The Toth Zone while I do this, and it’s great.

Morby’s decorated album covers (available for sale), with hand-drawn halos and nods to Kubrick.
Courtesy of Kevin Morby. 

8 p.m. Kevin: We order pho again for dinner. Like I said, it’s my favorite meal. We put on Dodgers vs. Padres. Nothing relaxes me more than baseball. The pace of the game and the play-by-play is incredibly therapeutic for me. Katie: I drink an Athletic Company NA beer, which is my favorite. Kevin: After the game we put on Rear Window and fall asleep on the couch. Katie: I’ve been sleeping nine hours a night, which is new for me, but setting myself up for good and long nights of sleep has really helped me be productive during the day.

Thursday, October 8

9 a.m. Katie: Wake up, coffee, talk to Kevin. We start most mornings talking. It’s probably the time of day where we really “catch up” since most days we’re busy sort of doing our own work. It’s nice quality time together I can usually count on.

9:30 a.m. Kevin: I am feeling stuffy from the sudden warm weather. I neti with my electric Navage. I’m obsessed with this machine and use it often. I used to get sinus infections regularly, but since going Navage I’ve been sinus infection–free.

11:30 a.m. Katie: Make breakfast, finish watching Rear Window. We’ve been on a Hitchcock kick, which both feels seasonally appropriate and intellectually/culturally stimulating. Watching movies and reading books I never got around to before is one of the biggest perks of all the recent downtime.

6 p.m. Kevin: Katie cooks salmon with roasted vegetables and rice. Katie: I didn’t cook a ton before March, but always wanted to more. Cooking dinner is something I look forward to all day, usually. Kevin: Afterwards we go on a long walk—something we do often to digest and catch the last light of the day. The days are getting shorter now, and so are the walks. It’s beautiful this time of year as the trees change color. While doing this I drink one of my favorite non-alcoholic beers that Katie introduced me to: Wellbeing Brewery from San Diego. Katie: We walk to the park and see a band play in the bandshell for a few minutes. They were pretty good, and seeing any live music right now feels really exciting.

8 p.m. Kevin: I perform a livestream concert from our living room. I decorate the room in fake clouds, candles, and old music-video props. Though not ideal, these livestreams have been incredibly comforting and helped scratch the itch of being able to play live during this time. They took some getting used to, but I’ve grown to love them. It’s a way to connect with my fans and invite them into our home and see how everyone’s been doing. It’s the most social i’ve been all quarantine and tonight is one of the last ones I’m doing live for a while, and I’m sad to see them go.

8:15 p.m. Katie: I call Allison from the studio while Kevin does his livestream, then I go join him for a song at the very end. All the livestream performances we’ve done have certainly been a little unbalanced as far as how they stack up to real concerts, but it really is always nice to connect with people, and it’s certainly always nice to sing songs with Kevin.

XL subscribe to our newsletter banner

Get the latest news and advice on COVID-19, direct from the experts in your inbox. Join hundreds of thousands who trust experts by subscribing to our newsletter.

Send your news and stories to us news@climaxradio.co.uk or newstories@climaxnewsroom.com and WhatsApp: +447747873668.

Before you go...

Democratic norms are being stress-tested all over the world, and the past few years have thrown up all kinds of questions we didn't know needed clarifying – how long is too long for a parliamentary prorogation? How far should politicians be allowed to intervene in court cases? To monitor these issues as closely as we have in the past we need your support, so please consider donating to The Climax News Room.