Nick Cave lends his vocals to “Our Lady of Light,” a slow-building duet with author-writer-actor Larry “Ratso” Sloman that will appear on the latter’s debut album, Stubborn Heart, due out April 5th. The song has an orchestral backdrop, an easy tempo and dreamy, Fifties-style backup vocals — it all sounds a bit similar to Cave’s music (thanks to the humming organ in the background) — as Sloman and Cave tell the story of a big-spirited woman at a wedding. In an uncharacteristically short statement, Cave said, “I’m proud to be a part of this record.”
Sloman, age 70, has long lived on the periphery of the music world. Over the years, he has worked with Lou Reed, John Cale and Leonard Cohen; he was once Rolling Stone’s reporter to cover Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue tour. He has also written memoirs for Howard Stern, Anthony Kiedis and Mike Tyson. It was Joan Baez who nicknamed him “Ratso” on Dylan’s tour for his scrappy appearance. He’ll be a talking head in the upcoming Netflix doc, Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese.
Sloman’s debut album, Stubborn Heart, features eight originals — including tunes he cowrote with Cale, for whom Sloman once wrote the lyrics to “Dying on the Vine” — and a cover of Dylan’s “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands.” It also features guests Warren Ellis, Sharon Robinson, Yasmine Hamdan and Imani Coppola, among others. Sloman’s friend Vin Cacchione (Soft Black, Caged Animals) produced the LP.
“Everything about this project was fun,” Sloman said in a statement. “And it was always about the songs. They had been lying dormant since 1984. They deserved a life.”