Thank god we finally have recorded proof of the most natural seeming duo in the world: Florence and The Machine and Ethel Cain have released a recorded version of their live performance of “Morning Elvis” at Denver Ball Arena. Ethel Cain (aka Hayden Anhedönia) has considered Florence a hero of hers since her teen years, and it seems like the feeling is now mutual. Florence Welch, frontwoman of Florence and The Machine, commented, “‘Morning Elvis’ is a song about the power of performance, of rock and roll tragedy and transcendence. And it’s a sign of a truly special artist when they make a cover their own. When Hayden sang this song it felt like it was hers, she really gave it that outlaw energy, like witches of the Wild West. I even threw more lines at her on the day because her tone and cadence was so perfect I wanted to hear more. And she did not miss a line even with only an hour to rehearse. I truly think I have found a kindred spirit aesthetically and artistically. And now every show I sing ‘Morning Elvis’ with an Ethel Cain inflection.”
The version is full and warm at the same time as it is heavy and dripping with sadness. The singers trade verses, sharing a wish for survival between them. The artists both have similarly rooted, feeling voices, full of drama and comfort, complimenting each other and building up the other’s sound. Their harmonies ring freely and fly. With lyrics like, “And if I make it to the morning / I should’ve come with a warning / And if I make it to the stage / I’ll show you what it means to be sad,” and “And after every tour, I swear I’ll quit / It’s over boys, now this is it / But the call, it always comes / And it sounds like children / Begging to be born,” they tell no lies about the hardships and pitfalls found in the life of a touring musician. But there is a soaring uptilt to their voices, finding a way through it all together. Anhedönia shared, “It felt like a holy convergence happening in a basketball arena. Florence’s dressing room smelled like powder and sage and we were both dressed in white, singing our lines back and forth to each other, and I felt like I was back in choir practice, but with an actual angel this time. She’s never not smiling, and if you would have told me we were the only two people in the entire venue while we sang it in the middle of her set, I would have believed you.”
You can listen to the track below.