Hear Lee “Scratch” Perry Remix Leon III’s “This Whisper Is Ours”
The dub legend lends his expertise to the psych-tinged Americana single.
To Houston-based alt-country duo Leon III, the mantra “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take” means cold emailing Jamaican record producer Lee “Scratch” Perry (twice) to request the dub icon’s assistance with remixing their recent single.
“I’ve learned over the years that if you just try reaching out to someone, the worst that can happen is they don’t respond or just say no,” the duo’s Andy Stepanian shares. “It may be one of the few positive things about the internet and email. I think my first success with this maneuver was when I asked Will Oldham to sing on a song of mine back in the mid-2000s. I was floored when he said yes. So, that gave me a little confidence just to take potshots at some of my influences and heroes from time to time. In fact, that’s how I came to ask Dana Colley from Morphine to play saxophone on a few songs on this record, including ‘This Whisper Is Ours.’ You can hear Dana playing quite a bit in this remix version.”
The version they refer to adds “Scratch” Perry to the growing list of collaborators they’ve compiled—which also includes contributions from guitarist William Tyler and Grammy-nominated recording artist Kai Welch on the original version of “Whisper.”
“Sometime during the mixing of this album I located an email address for Lee Perry on the internet,” Stepanian continues. “I reached out but I got no response. I was a bit bummed but not at all offended, considering. I tried again on a whim about six months later and got a nearly immediate response from his wife Mirelle. We ended up talking on the phone via WhatsApp and lining it all up. A few weeks later, I got the mix and even some video of Mr. Perry working on the song and singing on it. It’s kind of hard to fathom, actually. I love it. He is the living embodiment of dub and the evolution of reggae, and having him touch a piece of our work is an honor. Sometimes cool things happen.”
Here the reworked version of the song below, and expect their new album Antlers in Velvet out March 5.