Brittany Howard has lent her voice to jazz drummer Nate Smith’s new song “Fly (For Mike).”
If you’ve heard Howard, you’ve likely heard Smith, as he brought his ear for percussion to her 2019 album Jaime. But he’s been a well-respected sideman for years, and has previously sat in with modern jazz greats like Dave Holland, Chris Potter, and Robin Eubanks, as well as hitting the kit for Paul Simon on 2018’s In the Blue Light.
“Fly (For Mike)” is a single off Smith’s upcoming album Kinfolk 2: See the Birds, out September 17th. The song is soft and cold, like snow falling at dusk. The track comes with a special dedication. “Every time I fly, I think of my late father, to whom this song is dedicated,” Smith said in a statement. “When I wrote it, I wanted the music to evoke a feeling of freedom from suffering. I’m so grateful that Brittany wrote such gorgeous lyrics, and sang them so beautifully. It’s my hope that this song will bring comfort to anyone who has experienced loss, along with the reassurance that their loved ones are no longer suffering.”
For her part, Howard said, “It is no secret that I consider Nate to be one of the best drummers on Earth. I feel so lucky to share the stage with him and have him in my band. I was honored to be asked to co-write and sing a song on his new album. It took on extra special meaning when I learned it was about his late father who I know was such an important figure in his life. So many folks have experienced loss over this past year and a half and I hope this song in some way helps those struggling right now get through these challenging times.” Check out “Fly (For Mike)” below.
Earlier this year, Howard performed Gerry and The Pacemakers’ “You’ll Never Walk Alone” at the Grammy Awards while taking home a statue for Best Rock Song for “Stay High.” She’s also got a few festival appearances lined up, and later this fall, she’ll join My Morning Jacket for a handful of tour dates. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster or Stubhub.