Sep 082023

The woozy harmonica and acoustic guitar that opens JF Robitaille & Lail Arad’s new release sounds like you’re about to hear an old Woody Guthrie tune. But it turns out to be a cover of The Pretenders’ not-at-all-acoustic 1994 hit “I’ll Stand By You,” out today on new LA-based covers label Vault of Heaven. Robitaille and Arad, who split their time between London and Montreal, beautifully harmonize on the ’90s power ballad like a Sonny and Cher tune.

“Many smash hits don’t hold up when stripped back to voice and guitar,” Arad writes in an email, “but ‘I’ll Stand By You’ is such a perfectly written song it doesn’t need much else. The lyrics hit that enviable equilibrium of intimate and universal, and could equally be sung to a lover, a child, a friend…and we’ve never seen key changes put to better use!”

Listen to JF Robitaille & Lail Arad’s “I’ll Stand By You” below.

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