Elvis Presley Blues

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Pallet On Your Floor

Becca Stevens and Elan Mehler

Released: 2020 Genre: Jazz Folk

Becca Stevens and Elan Mehler find a moment of respite in hard times with their new album, Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor.

GRAMMY(c)-nominated vocalist and guitarist Becca Stevens and acclaimed pianist and composer Elan Mehler have a friendship that stretches back over a decade. The pair first began playing together in 2009 for Mehler’s record The After Suite (Brownswood), and toured the U.S. and Europe. During this period Becca guested a couple of times at Elan’s residency in the Swiss Alps. It was a concentrated musical experience--during their stays they would play often for two weeks, 4 sets a night.

“The music I was writing at the time was harmonically pretty dense, and it was a privilege working with Becca on that material because her range and her ears are so incredible. But it was during these nights in Switzerland that I first heard what a unique and powerful interpreter of standards she was.” says Mehler of their time together.

Reuniting nearly a decade later, Stevens and Mehler’s Make Me A Pallet on Your Floor, (out December 18th, 2020) is a collection of first and second takes--immediate, raw and stripped down versions of these weathered songs.

The material is standards and folk tunes, each song starting from a clean palette and unfolding at its own pace. In their cover of Gershwin’s, “Our Love is Here to Stay,” the duo play the tune dirt slow. It’s a change that gives the track a bit of a skeptical undertone, giving it a dark and playful interpretation that’s emblematic of the album. Both Becca and Elan are huge fans of Gillian Welch and the duo beautifully cover the Welch track “Elvis Presley Blues” as well as Welch’s version of the title track, “Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor.” Originating in the 19th century, “Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor” has been interpreted by hundreds of artists in a variety of styles and with a variety of lyrics. Welch’s version is notable for its deviation in tone from the ribald to a search for sanctuary. Bringing life to the lyrics, “Man I’m broke and I got no place to go,” Stevens channels this tone and captures the feelings of crashing on a friend’s floor when things seem hopeless.

In a time of extraordinary uncertainty, it feels especially poignant to hear two old friends explore what it means to find a place of quiet comfort in music.

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