South Carolina’s A Fragile Tomorrow may have built a reputation around power-pop anthems, but their lineage plays into modern folk’s roots. Twins Sean and Dominic Kelly, as well as their brother Brendan, are cousins with the late author and musician Richard Fariña. Dominic and Sean both secretly hoped to one day cover a song by Mimi and Richard Fariña, with Mimi’s sister Joan Baez singing with them. In April 2015, they finally reached out to Baez and she said yes.
But Baez wouldn’t be the only one coming along. The group reached out to their friends Indigo Girls, who agreed to play mandolin and banjo on the track. Also bringing along producer Julie Wolf (Carly Simon, Ani DiFranco), the smattering of artists holed up in a Californian studio to work on an arrangement of Mimi and Richard Fariña’s classic track “One Way Ticket”.
“Recording this song with A Fragile Tomorrow was a delightful way to honor and carry on Richard and Mimi’s musical legacy,” Baez tells Consequence of Sound. “They would have loved the fun and appreciated the honor.” The Indigo Girls also heaped praise onto their young collaborators.
“I’m always reminded how refreshing it is to be around AFT,” Indigo Girls’ Emily Sailer says. “These guys love the true beauty of music, and it shines through in projects like this community rendition of ‘One Way Ticket.'” Her songwriting partner Amy Ray adds, “Leave [it] to A Fragile Tomorrow to understand the musical ties that bind and to pay homage to them with their song and spirit! Recording the song ‘One Way Ticket’ was a cross-generational psychedelic experience with [a] band that I look to for inspiration and evolution.”
The track itself reimagines Mimi and Richard’s stripped back original version as a raucous, experimental romp. The chugging acoustic guitars and plunking pianos are replaced with ethereal electric guitars and distorted organs. Baez and the brothers harmonize elegantly amidst the madness, with Baez giving a poignant vocal solo in the middle. It’s a gorgeous and eccentric tribute from two different families and generation.
Watch a video of the studio session below.
The cover will appear as a bonus track on A Fragile Tomorrow’s upcoming fifth album, Make Me Over, out October 16th via MPress Records. Pre-orders are ongoing.