Exclusive: Lila Downs and Norah Jones Cover Gillian Welch's "Dear Someone"

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Exclusive: Lila Downs and Norah Jones Cover Gillian Welch's "Dear Someone"

Grammy winners Lila Downs and Norah Jones have transformed Gillian Welch’s lullaby-like track “Dear Someone” into a ballad with the grandiosity and romance of an old Hollywood movie. Welch, known for her revival of the Americana music movement and creative partnership with David Rawlings, originally released the song in 2001 with a simple acoustic arrangement. Nearly two decades on, Downs and Jones have added swelling strings and twinkling piano that elevate “Dear Someone.”

“When I got the call with the idea to collaborate with Lila, I was reminded of a long ago fantasy I had in the year 2001. When I was in college in Texas, I had a roommate and dear friend, named Natalia Novoa Sanchez, who was from Mexico. She was a beautiful singer,” Jones recalls. “When I moved to New York, I became obsessed with the Gillian Welch song, ‘Dear Someone,’ and had a fantasy of trying to record it with Nati in Spanish with a Mariachi band. Sadly, she passed away shortly after, and we never got the chance. Luckily, Lila was up for trying my idea! It was a thrill, both to record that song, and to work with and meet Lila. She is a joy.”

They make an intoxicating pair on the song, with Downs’ rich, throaty voice and Jones’ sweet soulfulness feeling like one of those instantly recognizable duos—peanut butter and jelly, eggs and bacon, Downs and Jones. Both women have been busy with their own musical projects lately, as Jones recently released her album Begin Again on April 10. Next Friday, May 3, Downs is sharing her new record Al Chile (on which “Dear Someone” appears), which was produced by Camilo Lara and mixed by Mario Caldato Jr. (Beastie Boys). A week after her album’s release, the Mexican-American star is celebrating the occasion with a performance at Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles on May 10. This August, she is making an appearance at Central Park SummerStage.

Listen to Downs and Jones’ rendition of “Dear Someone” below, and enjoy Jones’ 2013 Daytrotter performance further down, where we’ve also included Downs’ tour dates.

Lila Downs Tour Dates:

08 – Stanford, Calif. @ Bing Hall
10 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ Walt Disney Hall
11 – Escondido, Calif. @ California Center for the Arts
16-19 – San Francisco, Calif. @ Miner Auditorium
21 – Seattle, Wash. @ Meany Center for the Performing Arts

14 – Grass Valley, Calif. @ California WorldFest

11 – New York, N.Y. @ Central Park SummerStage
13 – Alexandria, Va. @ The Birchmere