Skylar Gudasz’s cover of the Tim Hardin classic “If I Were a Carpenter” premieres today on the INDY Week website.
Recorded sometime during the 60s and released in 1968—with subsequent covers by Bobby Darin, Johnny Cash, and Robert Plant—the song is an affecting ballad of romantic specificities (“would you miss your colored blouse”) and insecurities (“If I were a carpenter/And you were a lady/Would you marry me anyway/Would you have my baby.”)
Gudasz’s version, like the original, is spare, vulnerable, and keening, with chords that seem to blossom through empty space—to record it, Gudasz, who has performed the track live numerous times, snuck into a ballroom with her friend Dan Bonnè. Her take on the song is slower and more intentional than the original, with startingly directioness in every verse; Gudasz also tweaked the language to reflect a more even-footed relationship.
Bonnè recorded “If I Were a Carpenter” and additional mixing is provided by Jeff Crawford. Joel Hatstat mastered it.
Gudasz says that she chose to premiere the track on December 24 because it is the Polish celebration of Wigilia, which her family observes.
“[It’s] a big dinner that starts when the first star is spotted in the evening sky and ends at the magic hour of midnight when, if you are pure of heart, you might be able to hear animals speak,” she says. “I wanted to release the track on Wigilia because traditionally, you set an extra place at the table for any passersby that need a place to eat or stay, with the understanding that you yourself are sometimes the passerby who needs a place to eat or stay, and I think that was an early introduction to the concept of mutual aid for me – it remains a moving ritual still.”
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