Fleet Foxes frontman (and mastermind) Robin Pecknold dropped by the ‘Late Night with Jimmy Fallon’ stage last night to perform Pearl Jam’s 1994 classic “Corduroy” as part of the show’s week-long tribute to the band’s music.
You can check out the results below. Needless to say, given Pecknold’s clean, pretty tenor (and compared with Eddie Vedder’s thunderous, Earth-shattering growl), this was bound to be a strange version of the song. Backed by a drummer and Grizzly Bear guitarist Daniel Rossen, Pecknold channels a sweeter, less abrasive feel of the angsty track, building momentum until a chaotic end-of-song climax.
Random note: Where’s the beard and scrappy mane of hair? It’s part of Pecknold’s signature ’70s mountain-boy look. (With this new squeaky-clean look, he almost looks like a contestant on The Voice.)
This was Pecknold’s first public appearance since 2011, the year his band released the excellent Helplessness Blues. While Fleet Foxes haven’t officially announced work on a new project, they did recently share this promising photo on Facebook, which shows a minimal recording set-up of a laptop, acoustic guitar, headphones, and microphone.
In the meantime, if Pecknold feels like covering some more classic songs, here are a few that would go over even better than “Corduroy.”
Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young – “Teach Your Children”
Pecknold’s sweet, airy voice would certainly blend well with any of these guys — but there’s undeniably a Graham Nash quality to his singing. He could really pull off an interesting version of this track — and with Fleet Foxes behind him, he could turn it into a weird, medieval epic.
Traffic – “John Barleycorn”
Pecknold and Steve Winwood don’t share a lot of musical DNA, but “John Barleycorn” happens to find the latter singer at his rootsiest. It’s a ancient ballad of murder and deceit set to a brooding acoustic guitar pattern — a perfect platform for Pecknold’s cutting tenor.
My Morning Jacket – “Golden”
If there’s any contemporary Pecknold should cover, it’s the mighty Jim James. Both singers share a similar vocal range and expressiveness, and “Golden” would really give Pecknold a chance to emote.
What do you think? What track would you like to hear Pecknold cover?