CHICAGO’S Whitney, who set all kindsa ears on fire with that fragile, world-weary crossover slice of Americana “No Woman” back in 2016, have released a video for their cover of The Roches’ “Hammond Song” ahead of a ten-song covers set, out via Secretly Canadian on August 14th.
Following their acclaimed 2019 album Forever Turned Around, Whitney have returned with Candid, featuring songs from the likes of Kelela, David Byrne, John Denver, SWV and more, all cast in that sweet, dusty Whitney light.
So why, guys: why, on the back of two much-loved full LPs, Light Upon The Like and Forever Turned Around, the lure of the covers set?
Drummer and singer Julien Ehrlich explains: “This could’ve been as simple as saying we really love these songs and we love our bandmates and making a covers record just felt right, but it truly became an exploration into how we can evolve as a band going forward.
“We both discovered ‘Hammond Song’ [a 1979 tune by three Irish-American close-harmony singers outta New Jersey: hear the original here] because Chris Coady sent it to us years ago as a reference for recording when we were making the last Smith Westerns record [the band from which Whitney evolved].
“It became a song that was always around for us and then we showed it to the rest of the band. This cover is the longest Whitney recording ever and pretty much everything you hear on it is totally live, save for the horns and the slide solo.
“For a five-minute song, if you mess up one part you have to do the whole thing live all over again.”
And compare and contrast the two: Whitney remain wholly in love with the original – they don’t take an axe to it like say, Cud with “Bohemian Rhapsody” – yet make it wholly their own. There’s a subtle skill in that balance.
And just in case you think they’re gonna sit in the pocket and retread the Americana tradition, check out their SWV rerub, “Rain”.
Whitney’s Candid is out on August 14th via Secretly Canadian. Pre-order it on clear blue and standard black vinyl, cassette, CD and digital formats – heck, even stream it – here.