Rosie Thomas Enlists Sufjan Stevens, The Shins, Iron & Wine, & More To Cover Björk’s “All Is Full Of Love”
The Nashville-based musician Rosie Thomas recruited an extensive list of collaborators to contribute to her cover of Björk’s “All Is Full Of Love”: Sufjan Stevens, the Shins, Iron & Wine, Alexi Murdoch, the Head And The Heart’s Charity Theilen, the Lone Bellow’s Kanene Pipkin, and many more.
Thomas’ cover comes from her forthcoming project Lullabies For Parents, Vol 1, which in addition to an EP worth of songs also will encompass a podcast and some essays and videos reflecting on what it’s like to be a parent.
She worked on the songs with her husband, producer Jeff Shoop, and her version of “All Is Full Of Love” is sweeping and intricate. Here’s Thomas on how the track came about:
Originally, the plan was to do a quiet lullaby kind of version of the song, and really highlight the tender, encouraging lyrics, whether to children, to parents, to everyone really. Though we can understandably look past it these days, there is, in fact, love all around. Keep your head up. Stay hopeful. Look for it. Show it. Give it away. Love abounds. Love prevails. It’s within reach. So, as Shoop kept working on the song, adding bits, and shaping the arrangement, he had the overwhelming, but inspired idea to get vocals of a few lines from a bunch of different friends and variety of distinct voices (even our kids for a younger generation) to bring in and out, and eventually amass a choir of sorts. Some folks would come by the house when they were in Nashville, and others we sent instructions and requests, and they’d kindly send back vocals. This was largely pre-pandemic too, but proved to be a fairly seamless method once it began and we continued. Shoop then built this crazy arrangement out of it, and it was really beautiful, but I told him, “sorry, you gotta keep going.” I said, “I’ll know it’s done when my arm hairs stand up.” So with that super helpful direction, he kept going;) He had his best friend, James McAlister play drums, sorting out parts over the phone; sent out more singing assignments for new vocal parts, and kept plugging away at it himself, having long since jettisoned the minimal approach.* Finally one day I was out back checking out the newest version, and it happened! I cried when it finished, ran inside, and said, “look at my arms!” “You did it!” I listen now, and pretend we’re all in the same room singing side by side. It’s really special to me to get all these friends singing together on the same song. It feels like our own little We Are The World… We Are The Small World Afterall maybe?
*The song eventually rose to what mixing engineer, Yuuki Matthews, said “won the award for the most tracks I’ve seen in a session,” including everything from celeste and nylon guitar to synth track names like “NBA Jam” and “Fletch chase scene.”
01 “I Will Carry You (Always Here For You)”
02 “Always Be My Baby” (Mariah Carey Cover) (Feat. The Shins, Sufjan Stevens, & Josh Ottum)
03 “Even My Best Won’t Be Good Enough”
04 “It’ll Be Alright”
05 “All Is Full Of Love” (Björk Cover)
Lullabies For Parents, Vol 1 is out 4/4 via SINGALONG. Pre-order it here.