Bill Callahan & Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy cover Jerry Jeff Walker w/ David Pajo
Bill Callahan and Bonnie 'Prince' Billy have given us something to look forward to every week this fall with their collaborative covers series. This week they're tackling "I Love You" by the late Jerry Jeff Walker. As always with these, they bring in a third collaborator to provide the backing and this week it's David Pajo (Slint, Papa M). They keep things in the Texas vibe of the original, but take it just a little south of the border with some lovely horns, stretching things out just a little too. Will Oldham sings lead, with Callahan providing backing vocals. As they sing "Gettin' out of bed just ruins my whole day," with horns a blazin', it sounds like a sunset. But lets hope there are more of these to come. Listen below.
Here's the official Drag City PR blurb for this one:
For David Pajo, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and Bill Callahan, every night is a good night for singing. In his Papa M guise, David has infamously covered Jerry Jeff Walker before; here, once again inspired by Jerry Jeff’s music, he applies his wayward shape-shifting mastery to provide a take on one of the fine numbers from 1975’s Riding High for the two Billys to trade off upon. With love and mastery, they drop a killer version.
UPDATE (12/15): Over the weekend, the Bills released two more Jerry Jeff Walker covers: "Letter Sung to Friends" (feat. Nathan Salsburg) and "Little Bird." Drag City wrote: "Goodbye Jerry Jeff Walker – we’ve loved you well, and the love doesn’t end here. When you passed in October, the cover of Ridin’ High’s 'I Love You' featuring David Pajo was already on our schedule – but now, there's more to feel and say. Hailing from early in JJW’s catalog, 'A Letter Sent to Friends' says a bunch all on it’s own, featuring the guitar stylings of Nathan Salsburg, as Bill and the Bonnie ‘Prince’ emote the lyrics with dry eyes, in the name of their own gratitude and admiration. 'Little Bird' as well, stops time to appreciate passing beauty; its lovely grace note uncovering loss makes it another sweet farewell, and leaving the onus on the listener – hold yourself together, because after all, you are loved too." These two aren't available to stream currently. You'll need to buy them at Bandcamp to listen.
Previous covers in this series: Yusuf/Cat Stevens' "Blackness of the Night" made with AZITA; Hank Williams Jr's "OD'd in Denver" made with Chavez's Matt Sweeney; Dave Rich's "I've Made Up My Mind" with Alasdair Roberts; The Other Years' "Red Tailed Hawk" made with Matt Kinsey; Billie Eilish's "Wish You Were Gay" with Sean O'Hagan; Steely Dan's "Deacon Blues" with Bill MacKay; and Smog's "Our Anniversary" with Dead Rider.