The producer Ricky Reed is joined by My Morning Jacket’s Jim James and the rising singer Duendita on the regretful ballad “Us (How Sweet It Was).” While the plaintive keyboard and yearning lines from James — “If I had only known how long I wouldn’t see you” — reach back to gifted Seventies balladeers like Todd Rundgren, the smears of autotune and click-pop drum programming ground this song in the present. Duendita adds her own handsomely multi-tracked vocals, quietly commanding the second half of the song.
“Us (How Sweet It Was)” is one of many tracks that came out of Reed’s Nice Live! sessions — where he helped write and produce songs in his home studio and live-streamed the whole process — earlier this year. Many of those tracks will be collected on The Room, Reed’s debut album, which is due August 28.
“The Room is a running record of me trying to stay connected with my community, cope with the terror of pandemic, and supply love and energy for the revolution while spending a lot of time looking inward,” Reed said in a statement. “For me the music is a warmly lit healing place for us all to gather, zoom out, and work through the strangest time of our lives, together.”
In addition to James and Duendita, The Room includes contributions from Lido Pimienta, Kiana Ledé, Leon Bridges, and the Dirty Projectors.