Lorenzo Wolff has teamed up with Bartees Strange for a cover of Judee Sill’s “The Pearl.” The track is off Wolff’s tribute album Down Where the Valleys are Low: Another Otherworld for Judee Sill, out March 12th via StorySound Records.
The Heart Food cover is accompanied by an animated video, featuring the late singer-songwriter exhaling a puff of a starry night sky. “Beautiful pearl, oh when will you reappear?” Strange sings. “Mysterious unfurl and become so clear/When I feel you near.”
“Anyone who’s had someone in their life who’s fighting against addiction knows what ‘The Pearl’ is about,” Wolff said of the track. “It’s not introspection from the perspective of an addict, it’s the story that your friend tells you before she goes out to cop again…I had seen [Bartees Strange] in his hardcore band Stay Inside and expected a much more aggressive delivery. Instead we talked about his childhood playing in the country bands of Mustang, Oklahoma, and his love of roots music. After we finished the session he said, ‘No one ever asks me to sing country music.’”
Down Where the Valleys are Low includes Sill tunes like “Jesus Was a Crossmaker” and “Crayon Angels.” Mary-Elaine Jenkins, Emily Holden, Osei Essed, and others provide guest vocals.
“I’ve pushed dirtier, more earthbound elements to the forefront, and used Sill’s words and melodies as parts of a portrait illuminating the angry, cruel, beautiful, complicated, dangerous woman that she was,” Wolff said. “I like to picture Judee listening to this album and telling me to fuck off.”