Adhering to social distancing guidelines, Hornsby and Mercer recorded the song separately, with the former laying down piano and lead vocals, and the Shins frontman providing harmonies and backing vocals. The song’s chorus grapples with defeat and determination, with Hornsby and Mercer singing together, “In my resolve I move the rock/Or maybe fall down trying/My ineptitude stares me down/In its face I cower.”
“My Resolve” is one of several collaborations on Hornsby’s new album, Non-Secure Connection, which arrived in August. The record also features Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, Leon Russell, guitarist Vernon Reid and drummer Jack DeJohnette.
As Hornsby explained in an interview with Rolling Stone, working with Mercer was a new kind of collaborative process for him: “I reached out to James. I’d never met him. I said, ‘Hey, I’ve got this song. I hear you singing on it. Do you?’ I’d never done that before. I’ve had guests on my record for years, but they’re generally people I knew. The risk is that they’re going to record a performance and send it back to you, and you won’t think it’s very good. Then what do you do? You suck it up and allow something on your record that you don’t think is very strong or you ask them — gulp — to please redo it. So I was lucky.”