“Indie rock’s consummate renaissance man” (Under the Radar), Hamilton Leithauser, has joined forces with fellow indie-rocker Lucy Dacus for a mellow version of Leithauser’s “Isabella”, out now on Glassnote Records.
The track is lifted from his critically-acclaimed April 2020 album, The Loves of Your Life. The album, written and produced by Leithauser in his home studio over the past three years, is a collection of stories about real people met during his years living in New York City. “Isabella” is named after a young girl whose parents pay her Manhattan rent, which is precisely why she can’t grow up.
In lieu of what would have been time spent touring the world, Leithauser has spent much of this year working in his home studio that he has lovingly dubbed The Struggle Hut. It was in that studio that inspiration struck for a new version of “Isabella.” He explains, “I was just playing this groovy riff in my home studio and it suddenly sounded like it might work on my song ‘Isabella.’ I guess this amounts to the kind of evolving a new song goes through after a few months on tour…but without the tour. So I just hit record, and a few minutes later I had this whole new version of the song that I kind of loved. I asked my friend Lucy to sing on it—I’ve loved her voice since we used to sing together on stage every night during my I Had a Dream That You Were Mine tour. She recorded it at home and sent it to me. Once I put it all together I thought “well hell, why not share this with the world?”
Leithauser reached out at the perfect time for Dacus. She recalls; “Hamilton hit me up about singing on the song in June when I was in a bleak spot. Working on it really got me out of a funk and let me have some fun. We toured together in 2017 and I sung on a song in his set, it felt good to return to that. He’s a nice guy with good songs who’s easy to work with and lovely to talk to.” In addition to being friends, Dacus joined Leithauser on tour in 2017
With touring on hold, Hamilton developed a family band composed of his daughters, wife, nieces and in-laws while isolating together in Virginia. As a way to share the album with fans, Hamilton and his family band performed for Pitchfork, NPR’s Tiny Desk, Rolling Stone Germany and Blogotheque.
As a continued celebration of live music, Hamilton released Live! at Cafe Carlyle earlier this month. The album is a collection of ten recordings from his annual residency at New York City’s iconic Cafe Carlyle including covers of Big Thief’s “Not,” Randy Newman’s “Miami,” and Lana Del Rey’s “The Greatest.” Hamilton has become an regular face at Cafe Carlyle over the past three years. This past January, in his third year of the post, he sold-out all five shows. The residency has been described as a “revelation” by Vogue and is what feels like one of the last NYC mainstays. Unbeknownst to Hamilton at the time, his residency in January ended up being his last shows of the year.
Following the release of her widely-acclaimed second album, Historian, and the collaborative boygenius EP with Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers, Dacus has spent this past year rolling out a festive mix of original and cover songs tied to various holidays, including Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Independence Day, Bruce Springsteen’s Birthday, Halloween, Christmas and New Year. Recorded in here-and-there studio spurts over the last two years, “2019“ is a captivating collection that showcases Lucy’s versatility as both a knockout cover artist and pre-eminent young songwriter.