It’s surprising to hear that later this year, Kurt Vile will embark on his first solo tour in 10 years. Though he recently made the rounds with singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett to support their collaborative album, 2017’s Lotta Sea Lice, and his band The Violators, this tour is already shaking out to be a special one.
Vile’s not truly alone, though, which makes sense. His collaborative spirit is a hallmark of his successful career. He’ll share the stage with Welsh musicians Cate Le Bon and Stephen Black, plus drummer Stella Mozgawa of Warpaint.
“There’s a lot of friends I’ve made like Cate Le Bon, who put out my favorite record of last year,” he says. “We share a good friend in Stella Mozgawa, who drums in Warpaint. It just feels like family.”
You can sense the excitement for this new evolution of his live show in Vile’s voice. Though he’s successfully produced introspective, blues-tinged rock since 2008, he’s not one to rest on his laurels. By taking this group of equally talented musicians on the road with him, he’ll allow himself the opportunity to grow alongside them and let his solo work shine through.
“Cate is absolutely opening with some version of a solo show herself. I’m going to play solo, and then we’ll all play together. I’ll sit in with Cate any way she wants [me] to. It’s very open. It can just evolve every night, really, or it’ll become this piece that gets tighter and tighter. That’s the beauty of it. You never know exactly what’s going to happen, but we’re just going to figure it out night by night.”
Vile is especially proud of 2018’s Bottle It In, a critically acclaimed accomplishment (Barack Obama even selected the song “One Trick Ponies” as one of his favorites of 2018). And while this tour will certainly highlight what made that album go so far as to receive accolades from a former president/now tastemaker, among many others, he has an interesting way of keeping it in perspective within his greater body of work.
“I’m proud of that record,” he explains. “It’s definitely my deepest, but I feel like every record is my deepest record in some way. It just maps out where I’m at in my head, physically and mentally, in a weird way. But I’m not thinking about [this] new album. I’m thinking about all my albums combined. I’m working on music at home and thinking ahead. I’m always looking forward and backward at the same time.”
Outside of his solo work or records with The Violators, he expanded his reach further alongside Courtney Barnett with their aforementioned collaborative effort. The pair found lots of success with their work, exposing each other to their respective fan bases and offering true blue fans of both a totally different listening experience by leveraging their collective talents.
“I collaborate with a lot of people in my life. Everything bounces off. I loved working with Courtney. She’s like a sister. It was a special thing. I was inspired by her, and inspired to work with her. I think it’s about just connecting with people in the moment and hitting the studio while you’re together.”
And in typical Vile fashion, he’s on the move to his next project while celebrating and reflecting on what he has already accomplished.
“I’ve been in and out of professional studios since the last record came out because I’m always in a moment where it makes sense to go into the studio. So I have things in the vault that I’m really excited about already.”
Catch Vile and friends at Lincoln Theatre on September 15 (rescheduled from the original date of April 24). Doors at 6:30 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $36.
For more information on Kurt Vile, visit www.kurtvile.com.
Lincoln Theatre: 1215 U St. NW, DC; 202-888-0050; www.thelincolndc.com