Singer Sharon Van Etten has turned Donovan's gently strummed acoustic song, "Teen Angel" into a powerful, electrified ballad, with some of the most potent vocals she's ever recorded. The cover, which appears on a new Donovan tribute album, is still relatively spare, yet Van Etten injects it with an extra jolt of heartache and longing as she belts out the chorus.
"I've admired Donovan's voice and minimal psychedelic songs since I was a child," Van Etten tells us via email. "In the folk world he was still very 'left' and it stood out to me. Even though he was a trippy cat, he was still a romantic and I loved seeing both of those sides."
Donovan originally released "Teen Angel" in 1968 as the B-side to his psychedelic pop smash, "Hurdy Gurdy Man."
In addition to Van Etten, the tribute album, titled Gazing With Tranquility, features performances by The Flaming Lips, Hamilton Leithauser, Ivan & Alyosha and other artists. It's being released by Rock The Cause Records, with proceeds going to help families coping with Huntington's Disease.
Gazing With Tranquility is out on Oct. 16.
Copyright NPR. View this article on npr.org.