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Jordan Galland, Charlotte Kemp Muhl and Sean Lennon Unite on 'AKA Love' - Song Premiere

Songwriter enlists friends for delicate album cut

June 17, 2013 9:00 AM ET
Jordan Galland
Jordan Galland
Sophie Caby

Inspired by a year spent working on independent film scores, New York singer-songwriter Jordan Galland approached his fourth solo release, Wind-Up Rabbit, with a cinematic mindset. He was determined to include "AKA Love," a nostalgic male-female duet, on the album, but he was missing the perfect chanteuse for it. It was only after seeing avant-folk singer Charlotte Kemp Muhl at an intimate club show in New York that Galland knew he had found her.

"The album's producer Charlie Klarsfield turned to me to say, 'You know, Charlotte would be great for the 'AKA Love' duet,'" Galland tells Rolling Stone, "which was perfect because Sean Lennon, her boyfriend, had already laid down the acoustic guitar for us on the track."

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Muhl eventually lent her vocals to Galland's tune. The result is a dreamlike ballad that marches slowly upward, buoyed by a soft cushion of strings and Lennon's arpeggiated fingerpicking.

"I've always wanted to do a proper duet ever since first hearing Lee Hazel and Nancy Sinatra's 'Some Velvet Morning' when I was a teenager," Galland says. "There's something inherently dramatic and cinematic about that format that instantly inspires a narrative."

You can listen to "AKA Love" below. Wind-Up Rabbit is out July 23rd.

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Song Stories

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A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

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