Stef Chura has joined the ranks of musicians who’ve paid tribute to the late David Berman by covering his songs. Since Berman’s death back in August, lots of artists have put their own spin on his music with Silver Jews and Purple Mountains: collaborators such as Stephen Malkmus and Woods, longtime peers such as Bill Callahan and Dean Wareham, distant admirers ranging from First Aid Kit to Frankie Cosmos to Animal Collective.
Chura’s choice of material is “How To Rent A Room,” the opening track from 1996 sophomore LP The Natural Bridge. She had already been performing it live for a while but decided to record the cover in light of Berman’s death. In a press release, the Detroit rocker details her relationship with the song:
“How To Rent A Room” has always been one of those songs that I could never let go of. Ever since the first time I heard it it’s always been one of my favorite songs and remains one that imprinted me as a young songwriter. Now, in light of his death, the lyrics take on a new and much sadder meaning. At the time they seemed conceptual, but the line “Now there’s a lot of things that I’m gonna miss, like the thunder down country and the way water drips” is now a haunting and deeply poetic rendering of everyday minutiae and the texture of our lives that we don’t appreciate on a daily basis. The song seems nostalgic for a life he was currently living, and how important it can feel to mean something to someone. Or at least that’s my interpretation.
Listen below, perhaps while checking out our interview with Chura about her recent album Midnight.