Paul McCartney’s classic ballad of elderly isolation is given a bluegrass update in The Brothers Comatose‘s new cover of “Eleanor Rigby.” The Beatles‘ summer 1966 single (paired with “Yellow Submarine”) is their first song to feature no instruments by the band members, though McCartney wrote it on piano. Instead, George Martin wrote a string arrangement for a doubled up string quartet, giving the song a cinematic quality no Beatles songs and few pop songs had previously. The Beatles only contributed vocals to the finished product.
The Brothers Comatose walk the line by turning Martin’s arrangement into bluegrass music while maintaining the Bernard Herrmann-esque staccato rhythm and overall vibe of the song. What’s perhaps most impressive of their performance is how five instruments sound like eight – the Brothers Comatose’s version is as full as the Beatles’ version. The band adds an instrumental verse for good measure. The result is a cover that manages to both sound like the original and as a fresh update.