Bill Callahan & Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy cover Hank Williams Jr w/ Matt Sweeney
Last week Bill Callahan and Bonnie 'Prince' Billy covered Yusuf/Cat Stevens' "Blackness of the Night," and now they're back with another collaborative cover. This time they've tackled Hank Williams Jr's 1979 song "OD'd in Denver," with a little help from Chavez's Matt Sweeney (and his brother, Greg). Together, they take the straight-up country original and put a paranoid, minimal, almost post-punk spin on the song.
"One of the many beautiful things about the original 'OD’d In Denver' is the contrast between Hank Williams Junior’s effortless carefree vocal and the song’s bleak desperate words," says Sweeney. "So I thought I’d 'chop it up' and make the song’s music 'line up' with its lyrics by having minor key guitars percolate and arpeggiate, and singing an equally paranoid 'guide melody'. Then Greg Sweeney laced in his drum and percussion elements at his studio in Hoboken. Hank’s version’s narrator thinks he’s gotten over his night in Denver - I wanted this WillBilly track to feel like we’re catching our singer deep in the fear spiral."
Their version is pretty great. Check that out, along with Bocephus' original, below.
Matt Sweeney's old band, Chavez, are reissuing their debut album for its 25th anniversary.