Hey, here’s something cool! The Louisville singer-songwriter Joan Shelley has been making stark and gorgeous acoustic folk music for some time now; the self-titled album that she released last year was very much worth your time. Today, with no prior warning, Shelley has shared a whole new EP of covers.
All the proceeds from Shelley’s new Rivers & Vessels go to benefit the Kentucky Waterways Alliance. And Shelley has some help. Shelley’s fellow folk virtuoso and regular collaborator Nathan Salsburg plays guitar alongside Shelley, and guests include Shelley’s peers Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Daniel Martin Moore, Doug Paisley, and Maiden Radio’s Julia Purcell.
The covers cover a pretty wide range: Nick Drake’s “Time Has Told Me,” Dolly Parton’s “The Bridge,” J.J. Cale’s “Magnolia,” Connie Converse’s “How Sad How Lovely,” and the traditionals “Pretty Little Miss” and “Silver Whistle.” Shelley isn’t the first person to cover some of these songs; Patty Loveless has recorded “Pretty Little Miss,” and Eric Clapton’s version of “Magnolia” is probably the most famous one. But in Shelley’s hands, all of them sound like songs that she would’ve written. And let me tell you: Joan Shelley and Will Oldham singing “The Bridge” is something that you’re going to want to hear. Stream the whole thing below.
You can buy Rivers & Vessels at Bandcamp.