As of this morning, blues stars Ben Harper and Rhiannon Giddens are officially collaborators.
Harper and Giddens’ Tuesday release, a cover of Nick Drake‘s 1974 “Black Eyed Dog,” sees Harper on lap steel and Giddens on banjo as they harmonize on the punchy American roots cut.
Harper says he and his latest collaborator share many of the same influences, which is also quite evident in the soothing cover.
“Rhiannon and I are both Black purveyors of American roots music, and while this is not an anomaly, it is an exception within a subculture,” Harper said in a statement. “We have unquestionably tapped into the same creative well of influence, carrying on the tradition through our own individual instincts and perspectives.”
While the pair knew of each other before recording the track, Giddens says the two finally met recently in L.A.
“Didn’t have as much to do with the kind of music we play, although we share many, many commonalities as Black folk playing roots music, but more to do with the spirit that we access when we play it,” Giddens said. “I felt that spirit in him right off and knew if we ever got the chance, we could make something beautiful together.”
Giddens recently shared a Tiny Desk (Home) Concert in May, as Harper shared his latest single “Don’t Let Me Disappear” alongside a video that same month.
Check out the newly united duo’s cover below: