Just before Christmas, Jesse Malin and Lucinda Williams teamed up to perform Malin’s latest album Sunset Kids in its entirety at a concert at New York’s Bowery Ballroom. Williams co-produced the album with Tom Overby and the performance marked the first time that the Americana queen and Malin, a fixture on the New York rock and punk scene, played the LP in full.
Despite the late night — the gig spanned 26 songs in full, including Williams’ “Drunken Angel” and “Changed the Locks” — Malin and Williams reunited early the next morning to tape a performance for CBS This Morning that aired today. Backed by Malin’s band of Derek Cruz on guitar, Rob Clores on keys, Catherine Popper on bass, and Randy Schrager on drums, Malin and Williams delivered a gritty “Dead On,” a highlight duet on Sunset Kids. In her idiosyncratic voice, Williams spits out lines about “Salvation Army combat boots,” matching Malin’s own pointed delivery about “the girl next door” who is anything but.
“She was thinking very mid-Sixties Rolling Stones, very pointed and angry and disgruntled,” Malin told Rolling Stone earlier this year of writing “Dead On” with Williams. “I told her a story about how Patti Smith comes out [at her shows] and spits on the floor of the stage, and that ended up in the song.”
The pair also performed “Room 13,” a rumination on the loneliness and creativity that comes from time spent in hotel rooms. With its subtle and sublime phrasing, it’s in stark contrast to the slashing “Dead On.”
Malin also sang the Sunset Kids track “Shining Down,” without Williams, for CBS Saturday Sessions. But the pair will come together yet again when they set sail on the Outlaw Country Cruise January 29th through February 3rd. Malin launches a U.S. tour on January 9th in L.A. that runs through February, before heading overseas for a lengthy European run.