Singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers has released a new cover of the Tom Waits song “Georgia Lee,” a track featured on the cover album: Come On Up To The House: Women Sing Waits. This latest project is a tribute to the late folk legend, and includes artists such as Patty Griffin, Aimee Mann and Rosanne Cash.
The original song was a part of Waits’ 1999 studio album Mule Variations, and which was notable for being a somber ballad, featuring Wait’s unique introspection. Bridgers cover takes a more modern take, with a soft, yet emotional vocal performance, complimented with guitar chords as opposed to a piano.
According to Stereogum the “song is a tragedy, a true story about an impoverished black girl who, in 1997, was abducted and murdered at the age of 12.” In an interview with LA Weekly back in 1999, Waits explained that his daughter compelled him to put the song on the album.
“Not to make it a racial matter, but it was one of those things where, you know, she’s a black kid, and when it comes to missing children and unsolved crimes, a lot of it has to do with timing, or publicity . . . and there was this whole Polly Klaas Foundation up here, while Georgia Lee did not get any real attention,” Waits explained.” And I wanted to write a song about it. At one point I wasn’t going to put it on the record, there were too many songs. But my daughter said, ‘Gee, that would really be sad — she gets killed and not remembered and somebody writes a song about it and doesn’t put it on the record.’ I didn’t want to be a part of that.”
Matt Berninger recently debuted the track “Walking on a String” with Bridgers for the film Between Two Ferns: The Movie.