The best Christmas songs don’t always have to be Christmas songs. There are those songs that somehow capture all the contradictions of this funny time of year without even mentioning snowflakes or Santa Claus. They have all that festive joy mixed in with a strange inexplicable sadness and nostalgia that always seems to be in the air when December comes around.
In the same way that you could watch films like While You Were Sleeping and You’ve Got Mail all year round, there are songs - like ‘Just Like Christmas’ by Low and ‘The Fairytale of New York’ – that feel just as magical whatever time of year you hear them.
Taken from Victoria Liedtke and Jason Ringenberg’s forthcoming album of duets inspired by the songwriting of Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner, ‘Come To Me’ is very much that kind of song, so it’s fitting that it should land in the world with just a few days left of the year.
“Come to me when you're in need and let me hide you from the world outside,” the pair sing, as a softly plucked double bass and a gentle marching drum settle in beside them, reassuringly unobtrusive.
With a gently guiding touch, Victoria Liedtke and the “Godfather of Americana” and former Jason and The Scorchers frontman Jason Ringenberg have delivered a suitably wintery reimagining of the Dolly and Porter original, set to a backdrop of a delicately sweeping string arrangement courtesy of Sean O’Hagan and eerily distant church bells.
“When I first came across the original recording, it sounded like could’ve been written by Lee Hazlewood,” Liedtke told us. “But naturally it was a Dolly-penned track, the versatile genius that she is. The lyrics are very tender and earnest but expressed through this filter of world-weariness and desolation. This really put me on the path take the song full tilt spooky cowboy when it came to our arrangement.”
“The original arrangement is restrained and concise yet also feels so sweeping and drenched in atmosphere,” she explained. “With our version, the challenge was to strike that balance - leaning into the dramatic elements while still very much honouring the sparseness and space between. I enlisted Bryan Scary to providesome timpani, vibraphone and other tuned percussion sounds - all of which really helped to place the song squarely into spaghetti western territory.”
‘Come To Me’ is premiering exclusively on Holler below.
‘Come To Me’ follows the pairs version of ‘Life Ride’s The Train’, which was written and recorded by Porter Wagoner in 1972 and later covered by Dolly and Porter on their 1975 album Say Forever You’ll Be Mine.
Victoria and Jason recorded the album at Vale Studios in Worcester, UK in the Summer of 2022 with a predominantly UK based band. The band features CJ Hillman on electric guitar and slide guitar (Billy Bragg/Yola), John Parker on double bass (Nizlopi), Lewis ‘Burner’ Pugh on acoustic guitar and Tim Prottey-Jones on drums (First Time Flyers) as well as a plethora of guest musicians throughout.
The album, More Than Words Can Tell, is due for release on March 22nd on Judee Bop Records.