Tallinn Estonia’s Holy Motors release their cover of “Superstar,” a song brought to the masses by The Carpenters, with notable versions from Bette Midler, Luther Vandross and Sonic Youth released over the years. Holy Motors’ take, which is premiering on Brooklyn Vegan, features guitarist Lauri Raus’s masterful tremolo arm and slide work that layer aching twang beneath Eliann Tulve’s soulful vocals. It’s no wonder their cover was inspired by an instrumental version of “Superstar” performed by the late, great James Wilsey, Chris Isaak’s guitarist through his “Wicked Game” era. Here is what Holy Motors’ guitarist Lauri Raus has to say about the track:
“Some years back I saw James Wilsey’s performance of “Superstar“ on the internet. The melody was spaced out in echo and beautiful and he was just pushing it down hard on the vibrator bar of his silver-sparking fender Stratocaster. In a strangely similar fashion in ’71, Richard Carpenter happened to hear Bette Midler sing this same song on late night television. And then Karen sang it in for the Carpenters. But originally the song wasn’t written by a sibling duo, as you might have heard or known from yer own previous existence, but rather by Lean Russel and a married couple of soul and country music named Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett. I think that’s cute. They titled it “Groupie.“ It’s definitely not a lament. What is sad though, is that James Wilsey in his solo career never finished a recording of his own “Superstar.“ And that’s the motivation and gist of it for our recording.”
Holy Motors’ version of “Superstar” is akin to the glacial, reverb-rich dreamscapes on their debut LP, Slow Sundown. Fittingly, the band is announcing the five year anniversary of Slow Sundown, which has been out of print, with a new pressing on red vinyl. Don’t miss Holy Motors at the European shows listed below where you can hear their version of “Superstar” in real life along with favorites from their back catalog.