Lorenzo Wolff preps Judee Sill tribute (stream “The Phoenix” ft Bobby Hawk & Kate Ferber)
Producer Lorenzo Wolff is releasing a tribute to the late singer-songwriter Judee Sill titled Down Where the Valleys Are Low, with different guest vocalists on each of the album's seven songs, including Bartees Strange (whose contribution, "The Pearl" you may have heard), Grace McLean, Michael Cerveris and more. The album's out March 12 via StorySound Records and the third released track from it is "The Phoenix," which features Bobby Hawk (who played violin on Taylor Swift's Folklore/Evermore) and Kate Ferber. Judee's original, from her 1973 second album Heart Food, is lush acoustic folk but in Lorenzo, Bobby and Kate's hands it becomes a fuzzy rock song.
“’In ‘The Phoenix’ each verse is a little shaggy dog story," Lorenzo says, explaining his process here. "Judee sets us up to expect a punchline and then turns the joke back on herself. At the beginning of each stanza she describes scenes that could be painted on the sides of Astro Vans and then tells us she was kidding at the end of each. I thought that Bobby Hawk would be the perfect person for this sense of humor, because of his background in Bluegrass, which often has a similar way of telling its jokes. You can’t listen to ‘Mole in Ground’ and not wait for the punchline at each turnaround. Having Kate sing with him was initially meant to be supportive but ultimately felt more exciting as a duet. Like two people scrambling to tell you the same joke. The instrumentation is divided down the middle in the same way, the rhythm section doing a dystopian Candi Staton groove, while Grant Gordy and Bobby play fiddle tunes over it. An unrecognizable sample from the Louvin Brothers “Kneeling Drunkard’s Plea” bridges the gap between the two feels.”
You can listen to "The Phoenix," and check out the artwork and tracklist for Down Where the Valleys Are Low: Another Otherworld for Judee Sill, plus the two other released songs from the record, below.
1. Down Where the Valleys Are Low (featuring Mary-Elaine Jenkins)
2. The Pearl (featuring Bartees Strange)
3. Crayon Angels (featuring Grace McLean)
4. The Kiss (featuring Emily Holden)
5. Jesus Was a Cross Maker (featuring Michael Cerveris)
6. There’s a Rugged Road (featuring Osei Essed)
7. The Phoenix (featuring Bobby Hawk and Kate Ferber)