Music Monday: Joan Baez Covers Zoe Mulford

It is, of course, awesome news that Joan Baez will be covering “The President Sang Amazing” on her next album and “Fare thee well” final tour. She’s been performing it in concert already to great response. We haven’t heard the studio version yet, but there’s a video of her performing it at Carnegie Hall for a “Pathways to Paris” concert. (How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Have Joan Baez cover your song.)

It’s interesting! The phrasing is really different, compare Zoe singing it at the Small Brown Birds release concert:

And she has guitar as accompaniment! If you’re in the US you can hear Zoe’s studio arrangement with piano:

(You can buy the song or album, too, of  course!)

You’ll never hear my favorite version, because that piano line didn’t work out and won’t be released (it was a bit more atonal in the coda).

In the studio, Zoe really struggled with the piano line. She’s a reasonable pianist, but she doesn’t play very often (I really need to find a place for her piano to live set up. She rarely, if ever, performs with the piano. She does use it for composing, but real accompaniment is not something she does. Plus, this was not a composed or rigid accompaniment but something closer to improvised…almost necessarily so since she couldn’t replicate a take! At one point, she brought in a session musician to give it a go, but the stuff he came up with didn’t satisfy. So, she plugged at it until she got the current take (with the right time, without unfixable flubs, etc.)