Music

Listen to Leon Bridges’ (and Gary Clark Jr. and Jon Batiste) Stunning Take on Neil Young’s ‘Ohio’

Bridges joins forces with some big talents to remake a classic protest song in the image of the present moment.

Over on the New Yorker’s website, Lauretta Charlton gives some love to a new version of an old, if enduring and relevant song: Neil Young’s “Ohio.” In conjunction with PBS and the filmmakers behind the new Vietnam War documentary (which you’ve probably heard one or a billion things about), Spotify put together a playlist of new covers of songs from the Vietnam era called “Echoes of Vietnam.”

It includes a new version of “Ohio” recorded by Gary Clark Jr., Jon Batiste, and Crowley’s own Leon Bridges. As Charlton writes, it’s an impressive revision of the song, taking music and lyrics rooted in the fury and ferment of their particular moment and translating it into something particular for our contemporary moment:

It’s hard to imagine a time when the country was more divided than it is now. But Bridges, Clark, Jr., and Batiste distill C.S.N.Y.’s frenzied disbelief and turn it into an elegy for our time. Their version of the song amplifies the power of the original by demonstrating just how familiar this sort of anguish and grief have become today, particularly in black America. “You learn a lot about the history of America through our wars,” Batiste added in the same interview. “It blows your mind to think that America can get to that place. I mean, we’re still in a place right now that’s unfathomable.”

The song is simply beautiful, particularly how Bridges and co. rework the song’s harmonies. You can listen to it here:

 

 

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