Gene Clark co-founded the Byrds with Roger McGuinn and wrote a lot of that band’s best songs. He also cranked out a whole host of under-appreciated solo albums. And then he drank himself to death in 1991, when he was 46. He is one of the many doomed greats in the history of American rock music. And now he’s been immortalized by goth-folk great Marissa Nadler on her latest song.
Nadler is getting ready to release her new album For My Crimes, and we’ve already posted the title track and the excellent “Blue Vapor.” Nadler has now shared “I Can’t Listen To Gene Clark Anymore,” a soft and spectral track about not being able to hear the titular musician’s music “without you.” Sharon Van Etten, one of Nadler’s few peers in the heavy, moody singer-songwriter ranks, sings backing vocals. Below, listen to the song and read what Nadler has to say about it.
With memories, sensory stimuli can animate the inanimate and forever assign meaning to almost anything. For me, this often happens with songs or musicians that have soundtracked a particular time in my life. One glimmer of certain songs can bring me right back to childhood, for instance. This song is about a more recent memory but the emotional time travel is real nonetheless. I think a lot of people can relate to the sentiment expressed in this song regardless of the specificity of the musical reference. Or at least that is my hope. For me it’s Gene Clark — for others — someone or something else. But, we’ve all been there. I like to turn those feelings into something beautiful as a way to process them and freeze them forever in time and space.
I was over the moon to have Sharon Van Etten add vocals to this song. For me, because this is a fairly universal sentiment, I liked the idea of different voices expressing the same emotion. And to have it be one of my favorite singers and songwriters was a very cathartic experience for which I am truly grateful.