After the less than satisfying cover of Elliott Smith’s “St Ides Heaven” by Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers, comes the graceful cover of “Half Right” by Rachel Bobbitt. Technically this is not an Elliott Smith song since it was written by Elliott and bandmate Neil Gust and released in 1996 on Heatmiser’s third and last album “Mic City Sons”…. however, the sensibility of the tune is all Elliott.
Rachel Bobbitt captures the essence of the song with a poignant rendition done in a tasteful manner. She doesn’t try to reinvent the song, but she brings her own subtle contribution: “The song is masterful in its simplicity. It paints the universal feeling of heartbreak in such a devastatingly pointed way,” she said. “The lyrics deliver gut punches while the instrumentation marches on, steady and constant. One of those few truly ‘perfect’ songs.”
It’s true that the song instrumentation is rather minimalist, and Rachel’s version (she also produced the song) stays loyal to the original with the help of Justice Der (electric guitar), Stephen Bennett (drums), Isaac Teague (bass), and Bobbitt (electric guitar and vocals.). You can appreciate their restrained version while watching the striking black and white in-studio performance video.
But who is Rachel Bobbitt? Originally from Nova Scotia, Canada, and now residing in Toronto, the 22-year-old began to attract attention at 16 when she embraced the then-popular social media platform Vine, covering artists such as Leonard Cohen, Frank Ocean, and Bon Iver. In Toronto, Bobbitt soon found like-minded creatives (including the aforementioned guitarist and producer Justice Der), whom she partnered with for a cover of Frank Ocean’s “Forrest Gump,” that’s now garnered well over two million streams on Spotify. This is still her most-streamed song.
In 2019, Bobbitt and Der released the LP, “When This Plane Goes Down,” and in November 2020, Bobbitt self-released her debut solo EP, “And It’s The Same.” Organic editorial playlisting across Spotify (NMF Canada, Outliers, Indie All-Stars, Fresh Finds) helped spread the word further. In 2021, Bobbitt was named one of RADAR US’s Artists to Watch and signed to Los Angeles-based Fantasy Records.
Listen to her dreamy “Half Right:”
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – October 1972 (Volume 4, Number 5)
We leap ahead almost a year
A flatout triumph from a major performer
New Wave pop bliss out
I WISH I HADN’T GONE
a time-capsule type of roster
Creem -America’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – November 1971 (Volume 3, Number 6)
“Sure, we don’t pay much but then who else do ya know who’ll publish you?”
in the immortal words of Jason Isbell to me at Gov Ball a coupla years ago: “let’s do this…”
one of the great top tens of the 2020
old school Puerto Rican underground sounds
a masterful pop about loving a drug addict