Phoebe Bridgers Releases New Version Of “Kyoto” With Jackson Browne

Frank Ockenfels

Phoebe Bridgers Releases New Version Of “Kyoto” With Jackson Browne

Frank Ockenfels

Phoebe Bridgers has had a big year, and she might cap it off with a very big night on Sunday. The Grammy Awards are happening in six days, and Bridgers is nominated for four awards, including Best New Artist. With the big show coming up, the people at Spotify are doing a new thing this week. They’re releasing five new Spotify Singles, one from each of the Best New Artist nominees. Bridgers, naturally, is first up.

For each of these Spotify Singles, the artists are sharing new versions of their own songs, and they’re also doing new versions of songs from past Best New Artist nominees. At this point, Bridgers must’ve gotten used to coming up with new versions of the songs from her album Punisher. Last month, for instance, Bridgers got together virtually with Jackson Browne, Philip Glass, and the Scorchio Quartet to sing “Kyoto” for Glass’ annual Tibet House benefit. Today, she’s releasing a recording of “Kyoto” featuring Browne. It’s not the same as the Tibet House version. Instead, it’s a warm and intimate take, built on acoustic guitar and what sounds like mellotron. Browne sings backup, and his voice meshes with Bridgers’ beautifully.

Bridgers’ Singles also includes a cover of the late John Prine, the legendary singer-songwriter who was nominated for the Best New Artist Grammy in 1973. (The other nominees that year were Eagles, Harry Chapin, and Loggins And Messina. They all lost to America.) Bridgers has covered “Summer’s End,” the warm and sad song that Prine released in 2018. She’s previously covered it in an Instagram livestream and SiriusXMU session. Bridgers’ new version of “Summer’s End” opens with a happy-birthday voicemail message from her father, and it’s got backup vocals from Azure Ray/Orenda Fink singer Maria Taylor. Check out the new versions of “Kyoto” and “Summer’s End,” as well as Prine’s original “Summer’s End” video, below.

Bridgers’ album Punisher is out now on Dead Oceans. Five more of this year’s other Best New Artist nominees — Chika, D Smoke, Noah Cyrus, and Ingrid Andress — will also release Spotify Singles this week.

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