Premiere: From Good Homes Pay Tribute to Bill Withers with a Collaborative Quarantine Cover of “Ain’t No Sunshine”

April 30, 2020
Premiere: From Good Homes Pay Tribute to Bill Withers with a Collaborative Quarantine Cover of “Ain’t No Sunshine”

Back in August, From Good Homes released Time and the River, the first new studio record of from the band since its break-up in 1999. Our review of the record affirmed, “The members of From Good Homes still have plenty to say, and their dedicated fanbase is surely glad that the band also still has the willingness to say it.” Indeed, FGH remains an active entity and the band members have remained in touch during the coronavirus pandemic. Beyond communicating with one another, the death of Bill Withers prompted them to take a step further by collaborating from afar on a version of his song “Ain’t No Sunshine,” which we are premiering today.

Here are five band members reflection on the process of recording “Ain’t No Sunshine,” in the order in which they did so:

Patrick Fitzsimmons: From what I recall Brady sent out a band email a day or two after Withers’ passing thinking it’d be great to do an FGH version of “Ain’t No Sunshine.” Knowing that I have a special place in my heart for the singer songwriters of the early seventies and am a gigantic BW fan, Brady asked if I’d send him a phone video recording of me playing guitar and singing the tune and then email it off to him where he’d add his bass and vocals and then pass it on to one of the other guys who’d record their part and then pass it along and so on. Is that how you remember it Brady?

Brady Rymer:  Yes, I received Patrick’s video and uploaded it into my computer–plugged in my bass, put on the headphones, set up my phone to take a video & played along. After a few takes it felt pretty good–not too much background noise from the kids in the kitchen.  I brought that into my computer and started making the grid in Final Cut. This beginning duo performance I sent out to the rest of the band & asked them to add what they wanted.

It’s a surprising way to work–where everyone is completely free to add what they want in their homes–Jamie’s lap steel guitar was definitely a surprise & a perfect touch. Also cool how in the end it sounds just like us–it’s how we all would of played it if we were in the same room.

Jamie Coan: That seems right to me. I hesitated a bit at first to see what others might be playing, but everyone else seemed a little slow to respond. Eventually, I decided to add something after some more prompting from Brady. Since Patrick was already playing guitar I avoided that line of thought. Violin seemed the obvious choice as the original BW song had them, but then I saw my lap steel guitar hanging on the wall and went with that. I left the solo section open for Dano because he had earlier expressed an intent to add that in on the horn.

Dan Myers:  When I hear Bill Withers it reminds me of listening to the radio as a kid–coming out of a crappy speaker mounted in the dashboard of my parents station wagon. And it still sounded great!  I’ve always thought that Bill Withers was an underestimated musician. I mean he fucking wrote “Lean On Me.”   He was still installing bathrooms on planes when he had a #1 hit. Funny.

Todd Sheaffer: It’s always sweet to make some music with FGH–even if it has to be remotely. RIP Bill Withers. Thanks for the great songs.

We discuss the band’s past, present and future in a recent Relix feature. It’s also worthy of note that the individual members are active from their home locales. Patrick Fitzsimmons is performing a live solo set on Friday night at 7 PM ET.   Brady Rymer offers a weekly Wednesday night show for adults and a Saturday morning show for kids (He is a three-time Grammy-nominated artist for Best Children’s Album). Todd Sheaffer will be announcing his own special Mother’s Day performance later today.