Leon Bridges might be best known for spinning his own soul revival, but that doesn’t mean he can’t lay down a classic country number with a fellow Texan — in this case, a cover of Willie Nelson’s “Funny How Time Slips Away” with Robert Ellis. Bridges made a surprise appearance at Ellis’ St. Louis show earlier this week, where both guitar men ditched their axes for a smooth and sultry Detroit-meets-Nashville version of the often-recorded tune: Ellis on the keys, Bridges clutching a glass of the brown stuff. Watch the fan-shot video above.
Approaching genre with a more elastic point of view isn’t anything new to Ellis, particularly in the wake of his most recent self-titled LP, which was inspired by everything from ambient jazz to the Eighties pop records of composer Randy Newman. And covering Nelson isn’t out of bounds for Bridges, either — he sang “Funny How Time Slips Away” at the DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., back in January, when the Red Headed Stranger was awarded the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. This particular track from Nelson’s extensive catalog has been sung by everyone from Elvis to the Supremes to Al Green and Lyle Lovett, whose duet version took home a Grammy.
“I’m so confused and perplexed by what people think of genres right now,” Ellis tells Rolling Stone Country. “The tuff that people think sounds one way, to me, sounds completely different. My criteria for listening to music is a lot different than how most people listen to things. Harmony and writing are much more fundamental in a song than the accent someone has.”