Folk musician Bonnie “Prince” Billy along with rock musician Bill Callahan and David Pajo teamed up to record a cover of outlaw country artist Jerry Jeff Walker’s classic 1975 song “I Love You.” The song originally came from Walker’s 1975 album Ridin High. Walker passed away on October 23, 2020 and this cover is likely a response especially since some of the artists, Pajo in particular, cite Walker as an influence.
The cover is much longer than the original as it’s over six and a half minutes long whereas the original is about four minutes long. The cover is played at a slower tempo and the introduction is about a minute and 15 seconds long. Brass instruments and saxophone can be heard on the cover as well as steel guitar, electric guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and a Wurlitzer piano sound. There are two instrumental sections including the introduction and after the second chorus where a solo is played by the steel guitar and saxophone respectively.
In the original song the instrumentation consists of Wurlitzer piano, acoustic guitar, steel guitar, a real string section as well as Mellotron strings, bass and drums. It is played at a faster tempo than the cover and it does not feature any lengthy solo sections like the cover does. It is also a standard country ballad whereas the cover is more of a pop/underground ballad.
Billy collaborated with Matt Sweeney, Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe for a video for the song “Make Worry For Me.” He also did a Merle Haggard tribute. Last year Callahan released an album called Shepherd In A Sheepskin Vest.