Karen Dalton has inspired generations of folk musicians—including Bob Dylan, who once called her his favorite singer—with her elegant voice and nuanced guitar and banjo playing. But the linchpin of the ’60s Greenwich Village scene released startling few recordings in her life, none of which included her own songs.
That’s what makes Remembering Mountains, an upcoming compilation album of Dalton-penned songs, so intriguing. The project came about when Josh Rosenthal, of the label Tompkins Square, acquired files of Dalton’s personal papers from an old friend of the musician’s, guitarist Peter Walker. The notes contained lyrics and poems, some of which Dalton also included chord progressions for.
Enter a cast of modern folkies, including Patty Griffin, Lucinda Williams, and Julia Holter, who Rosenthal recruited to record the unearthed poems and chords. Remembering Mountains, the ensuing product, comes out May 26, but Stereogum has premiered singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten’s version of the title track. Listen to the gorgeous recording here.