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Folk - Released February 8, 2019 | Bella Union

In February 1968, Bobbie Gentry released her second album, entitled The Delta Sweete. Six months earlier, her hit Ode to Billie Joe had turned her into a world star at just 25 years old. Delta Sweete was a brilliant concept album that recounted the young Southern songwriter’s childhood in Mississippi through a mix of soul, country and blues. 41 years later, the group Mercury Rev have chosen to cover the record from start to finish. For this ambitious project, Jonathan Donahue's band treated themselves to an eclectic mix of incredible singers: Norah Jones, Lucinda Williams, Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star, Marissa Nadler, Beth Orton, Vashti Bunyan, Laetitia Sadier from Stereolab, Margo Price, Rachel Goswell from Slowdive, Susanne Sundfør, Phoebe Bridgers, Kaela Sinclair and Carice van Houten. Building bridges between modern soul and the sound of Nashville, the album from ‘68 contained a wonderful array of impressive arrangements and the tangle of strings and brass slalomed between genres. Mercury Rev's rereading of the record is based on a rather different set of sounds. They’re still just as skilfully arranged, but the American group still very much carry their own sound. There’s a feeling of weightlessness as their slow and progressive pop alternates between sublime moods, melancholic atmospheres and grandiloquent soundscapes. Each song on Bobbie Gentry's The Delta Sweete Revisited is performed by a guest voice. And some of them send sparks flying. Laetitia Sadier delivers an impeccable cover of the most beautiful and sensual song on the album, Mornin' Glory, and Hope Sandoval hypnotises listeners on Big Boss Man. In a punchier register, the rising country star Margo Price puts a new spin on Sermon. Finally, we find the delicate and touching voice of the veteran folk singer Vashti Bunyan on Penduli Pendulum. Mercury Rev cheat a little (all for a good cause) by closing this beautiful record with a cover of Bobbie Gentry's most famous song, Ode to Billie Joe, even though it wasn’t from her Delta Sweete record. Lucinda Williams (the queen of Americana) performs this song with her usual rage, bringing a twist to the hushed and mysterious original. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Folk - Released January 23, 2019 | Bella Union