Sep 22, 2022
By Joey Arnone
Photography by Johnny Eastlund
In a press release, Morby states: “‘Bittersweet, TN’ is a love song dedicated to time. It is about the abundance and scarcity around it that I feel almost always—that there is either a daunting amount or not enough but regardless—time is always on my mind. I tell this love story to the backdrop of America, or rather a Bittersweet, Tennessee—which like time itself can be a very beautiful or very tragic thing, depending, and one may not exist without the other. I sing it with my great friend—the very talented Erin Rae who really helped bring this song to life. There is a moment towards the end of the song where we have a cheers ‘to time,’ and I am so honored to be having those cheers with Erin in some sonic landscape for the rest of time.
“We made the music video in and around Nashville. It was important to me that we film in Tennessee with a Tennessee-based director and after being sent Cody Duncum’s reel I fell in love with his work. We shot at a few different locations to help show the broad spectrum of the American landscape—the nature, the city, the relics of the past. At one point while we were filming the scenes in the creek we noticed a helicopter just over the tree line and were told that there was an active shooter situation nearby in the woods we were filming in and that we had to hide, which we did. It was not lost on us that this was a display of a Bittersweet, Tennessee, indeed and the rest of the shoot felt pretty surreal after that moment. Luckily no one was hurt.”
Rae adds: “When Kevin first sent me the demo of ‘Bittersweet, TN,’ I had me an ugly cry. I was driving from Nashville to Oxford, MS and through Jackson, TN where I spent my early years. Listening in that landscape really opened this channel to just feel some things, I’m not even sure what I was crying about! I think that’s part of what is so special about this song; it paints a really clear picture of time passing and yet it leaves this room to bring your own memories to it, too. I was so honored Kevin asked me to sing on it! And Cody’s video really captured the feeling so well.”