In the lead up to the Grammys, Spotify Singles is sharing a new session with a different Best New Artist nominee every day this week. Kicking things off is our 2020 Artist of the Year, Phoebe Bridgers, who has teamed with the great Jackson Browne for a new version of “Kyoto”.
The fresh studio take on one of last year’s best songs is stripped down from the original. Beautifully delicate, the slower, sparser instrumentation allows for the buttery harmonies of Browne and Bridgers to absolutely captivate. While the backing vocals on the album version serve to elevate Bridgers’ vocals towards “Tokyo skies,” Browne’s act more as a cradle, smooth and gentle as they hold up the lead from underneath.
Bridgers’ Spotify Singles B-side features another collaboration, with Azure Ray member/Bright Eyes associate Maria Taylor joining the Punisher singer for a cover of John Prine’s “Summer’s End”. Bridgers initially covered the track off The Tree of Forgiveness not long after Prine’s passing. She later shared a studio version of her tribute to the folk legend via a SiriusXM session, though this new rendition is notably more raw.
Check out Bridgers’ collaborative recordings of “Kyoto” with Browne and “Summer’s End” with Taylor below.
Bridgers has performed with Browne, someone she once claimed to have “romanticized” while growing up, numerous times throughout her career. In 2018, the pair delivered a cover of McCarthy Trenching’s “Christmas Song”. Before the pandemic hit last year, they reunited on stage during Mandy Moore’s Bootleg Theater residency in Los Angeles, joining in on The Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends” with members of Dawes, Mike Viola, and others.
The 2021 Grammy Awards take place this Sunday, March 14th, so keep it tuned here for our continued coverage. You can also keep an eye out for Spotify Singles’ Best New Artist nominee sessions with CHIKA, D Smoke, Noah Cyrus, and Ingrid Andress.