What do you get when you combine two genre-crossing artists in Rufus Wainwright and Brandi Carlile together on the same track?
A wonderfully-spooky yet beautiful cover of The Everly Brothers “Down in the Willow Garden.”
The song, which was released today, showcases both Wainwright and Carlile’s raspy voices while also honoring the traditional Everly Brothers harmonic style. The song has been covered by many artists over the years since its invention in the early 19th century, including the Stanley Brothers and Flatt & Scruggs.
The ballad is a somber one, and Wainwright knew that he needed the right artist to help him match the tone. Wainwright thought immediately of the weathered voice of Brandi Carlile and how, when his voice paired with hers, could create the perfect harmony for the tune:
“The song is so blatantly brutal and masochistic that I had to sing it with a woman. Sadly, we still live in a violent world. The amazing thing about so many folk songs is that, content wise, they sound very contemporary.”
Musically, the song matches both the identity of the lyrics as well as the illustrations that play throughout the music video. The newly released video also shows Carlile and Wainwright as they work through the song and recording process within the studio.
Wainwright brought along Carlile to join him for this song that will be featured on his upcoming album Folkocracy. The 15 track album will be released on June 2nd, and will feature other artists such as Sheryl Crow, David Byrne, John Legend, and many more. When speaking of the many artists that he collaborated with on this album, Wainwright said:
“This album is almost like a recorded birthday party and birthday present to myself. I just invited all the singers that I greatly admire and always wanted to sing with.”
The talented Wainwright clearly has the respect from his musical counterparts, and if the rest of his album delivers the emotional punch that this collaboration does, music fans from all genres shall be in for a real treat.
For those interested in hearing the original version of the song by The Everly Brothers, as well as some of the other covers from across the years, I saved you all the trouble of tracking them down.