Noah Britton Enlists Phil Elverum on the Somber, Heartfelt “Wings”
The single arrives ahead of Britton’s I Love You EP, which drops June 18.
Not many artists can claim to have landed a guest feature from beloved singer-songwriter Phil Elverum, but Boston’s Noah Britton isn’t like many other artists. The underground stalwart has been churning out solo albums since 1995, and has notably had his work covered by artists like Frankie Cosmos and Told Slant. “Wings,” the first single from Britton’s upcoming EP I Love You, is a somber, heartfelt track that evokes Britton’s peers like Bonnie “Prince” Billy and the late David Berman. Stripped down acoustic strums lay the framework for raw talk-singing. “I wish I had wings for all of you,” the duo bluntly harmonize on the song’s chorus. Recorded early in the pandemic following the death of John Prine, the track grapples with the pain felt by Britton’s friends in those discombobulating early days of quarantine.
“I first met Phil Elverum at a D+ show in Anacortes, WA in December, 2001,” Britton—who also performs as a member of the comedy group Asperger’s Are Us—says of the collaboration. “I think I’ve seen one or more shows on every tour he did since and would always say hi for a bit. He’s very graciously tolerated me and all of his other nerdy fans being sometimes annoyingly excited about him and his music over the years.”
Explaining how he got one of indie rock’s most lauded musicians on the single, Britton continues, “Before anyone gets too excited and thinks, ‘Wow, I can pester Phil Elverum to sing on my song just because he’s so nice,’ I have to mention that ‘Wings’ is about donations I’ve made recently, so he may have only agreed because of the norm of reciprocity.” Philanthropy aside, it doesn’t take much to understand why the man behind The Microphones and Mount Eerie would be willing to spend his time working with Britton. Stark-but-poignant, “Wings” is a lullaby that will stop you in your tracks.
You can stream the track below, and anticipate the full EP out June 18 via Gentle Reminder Records. For those in the Boston area, be sure to catch Britton’s intimate release show September 9 at O’Brien’s Pub in Allston, where he will be supported by Old Table and Frankie Valet.