Two of Blues / Folk / Americana’s standouts, Ben Harper and Rhiannon Giddens have collaborated together for the first time on their own version of Nick Drake’s ‘Black Eyed Dog’.
“Rhiannon and I are both black purveyors of American roots music, and while this is not an anomaly, it is an exception within a subculture,” Harper explained. “We have unquestionably tapped into the same creative well of influence, carrying on the tradition through our own individual instincts and perspectives.”
“I’ve been hearing and hearing about Ben Harper for a long time, but had never gotten to meet him until recently at an event in LA and I was immediately struck by a kindred spirit,” Giddens added. “Didn’t have as much to do with the kind of music we play, although we share many, many commonalities as black folk playing roots music, but more to do with the spirit that we access when we play it. I felt that spirit in him right off and knew if we ever got the chance, we could make something beautiful together.”
“I’ve always wanted to cover ‘Black Eyed Dog’, but the song was intimidating in its haunted perfection,” Harper continued. “Only through collaborating with Rhiannon would I have ever attempted it. When I step back from it, this collaboration should’ve happened long ago, but I’m thrilled that it’s finally here.”
Taken from the English Countryside, pastoral and sweeping in it’s simplicity, Harper and Giddens have transported seamlessly into the American folk tradition, with Harper providing lap steel and Giddens on Banjo, and with fiddle sprawling over it, what makes the version is the pairs vocals working together.
It’s different, but just as perfect in its own way. Check it out, here