She & Him’s seventh studio album is a loving, LP-length tribute to one of the greatest living American songwriters and singers, Brian Wilson. Melt Away: A Tribute to Brian Wilson finds Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward diving deep into the legendary artist’s extensive songbook, offering fascinating and delectable new spins on time-honored classics and overlooked gems alike. These fourteen covers are infused with the familiar magic that She & Him fans know and love, opening a new window into Wilson’s iconic catalog. Wilson even features on a song with Zooey and M. Ward for the album, “Do It Again.” The band have enjoyed a friendship, and mutual appreciation, with Wilson over the years and She & Him was previously a guest vocalist on his 2015 album, No Pier Pressure. Recently, the band released “Darlin’”, the lead track and video from Melt Away.
She & Him will be stopping by Red Butte Garden Amphitheater on Tuesday, June 14. Utah Concert Review had the opportunity to visit with M. Ward ahead of their Salt Lake City tour stop. Kevin and Ward discussed Melt Away, what goes into creating a good cover song, and much much more. Enjoy!
It wasn’t really a concert, at least not in the traditional sense. September 19th at the Sandy Amphitheater was more of a musical celebration devoted to Brian Wilson while he primarily sat and soaked in the experience. It certainly wasn’t for everybody. Those who went expecting to experience the Mike Love incarnation of the Beach Boys sporting Bahama shirts while playing their pop classics like, “Be True to Your School” may have left disappointed. Yet from the moment Brian Wilson scuffled onto the stage with the support of his walker and took his seat at the piano where he played a few notes and struggled to sing along to his amazing band, those who went to celebrate the harmonies and instrumental creativity Brian has given the world through his extraordinary gifts were given a special treat, a moment never to be forgotten.
True, the show opened up with a few classics such as, “California Girls,” “I Get Around,” and “Help Me, Rhonda,” but a bulk of the concert was devoted to some of the lesser known songs from the Beach Boys late 60’s material that at the time of their original release failed to gain widespread appreciation by an American audience. The band performed “Darlin’” from the 1967 album Wild Honey before turning to four straight songs from the 1968 album Friends.
Despite Brian’s physical difficulties, performing these live renditions truly showcased his incredible brilliance. Hearing the music live leaves little doubt as to why Wilson is rightfully considered one of the greatest musical geniuses of the modern era.
This was the Brian Wilson “Something Great From 68 Tour,” yet the band treated Sandy to a rare performance of “Salt Lake City,” which was obviously, given the setting, a fun experience. Unfortunately, some of those expecting a Mike Love type Beach Boys concert left early while the band explored the lesser known music primarily from the 1971 album Surf’s Up, including, “Feel Flows,” “Long Promised Road,” “Till I Die,” “Lookin’ at Tomorrow,” and of course, the album’s title track. These songs were clearly not the Beach Boys’ material some came to experience, but for devoted fans, the setlist truly showcased some of Brian’s finest material.