Great New Cover: Michelle Branch & Patrick Carney – “A Horse With No Name”

Who says there are no second acts in American life? Michelle Branch was on top of the music world in the early 2000s on the strength of two Platinum albums, The Spirit Room and Hotel Paper, and she was there for good reason. She was blessed with a big-time pop voice holding power and sensitivity, but she eschewed the exploitative glitz of the big-time pop singer in favor of jeans and a flannel shirt because it was all about the music. It was hard not to like her.

But in an all-too familiar story, Michelle Branch got chewed up and spit out by the star-making machinery behind the popular song and promptly disappeared from view. Project after project withered on the vine as people kept asking what she had done for them lately. That’s just the way it goes in a culture desperate for the next big thing.

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Her comeback began with a divorce in 2015. Branch started dating Patrick Carney, drummer and founder of the Black Keys, who was coming off some personal problems of his own. The pair hit it off and also started writing, recording and performing music together, culminating in Branch’s comeback album Hopeless Romantic, which was released earlier this year.

And now comes this really nice cover of the America classic, just released last week. Carney has been working on the soundtrack for BoJack Horseman, the wild and crazy animated Netflix series about an anthropomorphic drunk and depressed horse in Hollywood (it’s funnier than it sounds). For the fourth season of the series they are releasing a soundtrack of new music for the series which includes this great track. Branch breathes some warmth into the monotonic melody, and Carney does a really great job on the rhythm and the production. Good on both of them, and I hope the partnership yields more quality sounds like this on the road ahead.


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