Amanda Palmer’s latest project is a collaborative covers album with her 71 year old father Jack. Parted after he left home when she was a year old, Jack and Amanda haven’t always been the closest father and daughter. Their relationship was once strung between infrequent visits during her childhood, and longer periods of absence later in her adolescence.
As Amanda began touring as a musician, things were slowly rekindled. Frequently playing in his hometown, Amanda invited Jack to shows and occasionally stayed at his house. “When I hit DC, I asked if he’d jump up and play a Leonard Cohen song with me” she says. “It felt like something healed, a little scar over a long-festering wound.”
Cohen’s songs and the duo’s collaborative performances became the focus of their renewed relationship, and ultimately the point of this records inception. For Palmer, “It was a really good reason to spend healing time together, sharing our musical histories”. Essentially, that is the creative force driving this album.
The opening and title track "You Got Me Singing" is one of the Cohen songs they used to play. As a very literal communication of the therapeutic roll music has played between them, it captures the essence of their project. "I believe nothing is more powerful than love, and that nothing expresses it better than singing” says Jack.
Sonically, this is no-frills stuff. Produced by Palmer and engineer Joe Costa, they’ve captured the songs with a very honest, intimate sound. With the tape occasionally left rolling between tracks – there’s clearly an attempt to lay everything bare.
Standing alone, this a warming set of tastefully executed covers. But see the album in its context and you’ll find its beauty – a record of music repairing a once strained relationship.