Sons of Anarchy house band the Forest Rangers aren’t afraid to put their unique spin on a beloved classic. For Tuesday night’s episode, “The Separation of Crows,” the eclectic crew recorded a wicked version of the Bob Dylan/Jimi Hendrix anthem “All Along the Watchtower,” letting vocalist Billy Valentine wail vividly over a tumbling drum part and psychedelic wah-wah.
“There must be some way out of here,’ said the joker to the thief,” SoA music supervisor Bob Thiele tells Rolling Stone, referencing the opening line from the classic-rock staple. “Unfortunately, SAMCRO has yet again hit a major roadblock. This iconic Bob Dylan song pretty much sums up where things stand in episode 708.”
“We’ve slowed it down considerably, making a dramatic shift in the tempo and feel,” Thiele says. “The great Bobby Womack deserves credit where credit is due. Forest Rangers Matt Chamberlain (drums), Davey Faragher (bass), Phil Shenale (keys) and Greg Leisz (lap steel guitar) are present as usual. Also, Gia Ciambotti sings some high shit the way only she can do.”
But “Watchtower” is dominated by the commanding vocal presence of Valentine, whom Thiele calls one of his favorite singers on the planet. “Billy and I have been together slogging through the mud of the music business for over 25 years,” he says. “I’m probably not alone in singing the praises of Billy. He’s a singer’s singer. Sly Stone, Bonnie Raitt, even Marvin Gaye all have been captivated by his voice.”
Check out an exclusive stream of the track below.