Courtesy of the artist
First Aid Kit. Courtesy of the artist
They put a smile on my face from the first moment I saw the two young Swedish sisters perform at CMJ last fall: Johanna and Klara Söderberg (born in 1990 and '93, respectively) were brave enough to tackle a song by Fleet Foxes at New York City's Rockwood Music Hall. The packed house was enthralled by the cover tune, but also by First Aid Kit's original songs. Now, Jack White is about to release a single by the band on his Third Man Records Blue Series, a series of seven-inch records recorded in his Nashville studio. The single includes a version of Buffy Sainte-Marie's "Universal Soldier," but we feature the oft-covered blues tune "It Hurts Me Too" here. It features the sisters' dad on fiddle. I asked them to tell us about their session in Nashville — below is their story:
"The day of our show in Nashville, we got a call saying that Jack White wanted us to come to his studio to record. We were stunned and shocked! It was fun to work in a vintage studio where everything was analog. We told Jack, 'This is the first time we've recorded in a proper studio,' and he replied, 'It's all going downhill from here.' He was very quick. He knew exactly what he wanted musically, and we completely agreed with all of his ideas.
" 'Universal Soldier' by Buffy Sainte-Marie was an obvious song choice for us. It's a tune that's very dear to us because the lyrics are extremely powerful. We'd been singing the song during our live shows for a long time, but never done an actual recording it. This was the perfect opportunity to do that. The fiddle added a beautiful touch. Towards the end of the song, when the drums come in, it sounds slightly militaristic and march-like, which is fitting and ironic.
"The decision to record 'It Hurts Me Too' was a bit of a spur-of-the-moment thing. We'd never done a blues tune like this, but we just love Karen Dalton's version of it. We'd never recorded with a live band before, so when Jack brought in his band to play with us, it was a magical experience. We thoroughly enjoyed it and we think you can hear that. The electric fiddle part is particularly sweet."
Here's a brief video clip we shot of First Aid Kit at CMJ.