Monday, October 19, 2009

Profiles in Fandom and Collaboration #6: Liv Carrow

Liv Carrow has always struck me as simultaneously a tender and tough performer. The songs she writes are simultaneously sweet and cynical -- naive and worldly. One time when I saw her perform at Sidewalk, she did a Harry Nilsson cover from The Point, and I immediately saw the connection.

Nilsson is the kind of guy who can sing a tender love ballad, then sing an upbeat number with the hook "You're breaking my heart/ You're tearing it apart/ So fuck you," then get a sing-along going with a tune about wanting to die before you get too old and incapacitated. That mixture of sensitivity and irreverence that characterizes Nilsson reminds me of Liv Carrow too.

So immediately after that Sidewalk show where she did the Point cover, I told Liv that we should do a cover of a Harry Nilsson song. I suggested "Daddy's Song," which I had first heard covered by The Monkees in their wacky-ass movie, Head. I even lent her my copy of the Head soundtrack, which has since disappeared off the face off the earth (if only I had had a CD burner at the time!!).

For the next year and a half probably, I would sporadically email Liv and say "Hey, let's record that song. Whadaya think?" And she would write back, "Sure." And nothing would come of it.

But I never forgot about the song. Last year, when I figured I needed better cash flow and I started busking in the subway, I added "Daddy's Song" to my repertoire, so that I could practice it a bunch.

Finally, a couple months ago, Liv and I found an afternoon where we could meet up and finally record the damn song. And once we were finally in the same room, performing the song was really fast and easy. We decided to trade verses back and forth, and as you hear the switch from person to person, it's kind of clear that I know the song from the Monkees' version and Liv was studying Nilsson's original version because she emulates his vocal acrobatics while I (and Davy Jones) take the more straightforward melodic route. Nonetheless, it turned out to be a nice blend. It's what I would characterize as a pleasantly bittersweet addition to the album.

Unfortunately for you, right now the tune is not posted anywhere as a download or as a stream, so you'll just have to wait 'til the album is out to see if you agree.

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