Third Man Records has a history of preserving American iconography – like their chronicle of Paramount Records – and being at the forefront of those who will pave music’s future, like Margo Price. So last September during Americana Fest, as part of their Luck Mansion Sessions, TMR combined both of these things by inviting some of country and roots’ most promising new voices in Josh Hedley and Erin Rae to sing songs by Guy Clark and Hank Williams Jr., in a collaboration available on 7″ beginning next Friday. Rodney Crowell and John Paul White, a living legend and one in the making, also collaborated on two tracks, Crowell’s “The Girl On The Street” and an original the duo wrote together for these sessions, “Don’t Think That I Can’t Feel You When You’re Gone.”
Hedley, a recent signee to Third Man Records and Rae, who recorded her sophomore LP at Cory Chisel’s The Refuge in Wisconsin, are particularly poignant on their cover of Clark’s “My Favorite Picture of You,” written for the master songwriter’s late wife Susanna a three years before his own death in 2016. Turning the track into a duet that could have been a dialogue between the two lovers back in Seventies Nashville, Hedley’s emotive fiddle playing and tender, soft-touch vocals are the perfect companion to Rae’s warm, round delivery. And on Williams’ “Old Habits,” they settle the 1980 hit into a delicate, swaying cadence, like a slow dance to the honkytonk jukebox’s final breath at last call.
White and Crowell, who sang together on “It Ain’t Over Yet” alongside Rosanne Cash from Crowell’s 2017 LP Close Ties, went a different route, writing a new song together specifically for their Luck Mansion Session. “Let’s just pull something out of the air,” recalls White of creating “Don’t Think That I Can’t Feel You When You’re Gone,” a haunting tale about the visceral shadows a romance leaves behind. See it below.
These sessions are the second installment of Third Man’s partnership with Luck Mansion, headquartered at Willie Nelson’s Texas ranch: the first included collaborations between Sarah Jarosz and Parker Millsap, Lilly Hiatt and Aaron Lee Tasjan, and Dylan LeBlanc and Rayland Baxter. The next will feature Lillie Mae with Langhorne Slim and Margo Price with Shovels and Rope, due out later in 2017.