On Tuesday, Lana Del Rey announced a quick follow-up to last month’s Chemtrails Over the Country Club, proving she’s churning out pandemic releases just as fast as Neil Young. Questions immediately arise: is this a different album than the previously announced Rock Candy Sweet, or another one altogether? What about that LP of standards and classics? Also, is that really the new album cover?
Either way, Blue Banisters will reportedly arrive on Independence Day, her third record within a year (if you count the spoken word LP Violet Bent Backwards over the Grass). It’s hard not to get excited about how many songs she’ll have under her belt by the time she returns to the stage, but that might be a while. In the meantime, let’s revisit one of her greatest performances from 2019: “Diamonds and Rust” with Joan Baez.
Del Rey made many stops on her Norman Fucking Rockwell tour unique by inviting musicians to join her onstage, from Best Coast to Chris Isaak to Sean Ono Lennon. But Baez lending a hand was particularly fitting for Del Rey: not only was she inspired by the folk legend, but NFR was steeped in imagery of Los Angeles in the Seventies — right when Baez recorded Diamonds and Rust.
As shown in the video above, they sang the Bob Dylan-influenced title track in Berkeley that fall, harmonizing as Baez plucked the guitar. As she frequently did prior to her retirement, Baez updated the line of “Ten years ago I bought you some cufflinks,” to “50 years ago I bought you some cufflinks.” She followed the performance with “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” covering a song written by the subject of her masterpiece.
“She’s a lovely lady,” Baez said of Del Rey last fall. “She appreciates what I’ve done, what I sing. She said, ‘Will you sing at my concert?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, but your average age at the concert is about 14.’ And she said, ‘Oh, it’s okay. Some of them bring their parents,’” she recalled, laughing. “And she wanted to sing on ‘Diamonds and Rust,’ so we did. My granddaughter sings and writes songs. Lana was so sweet. We introduced them at dinner, and she said, ‘Jasmine, maybe after the show, you can play something for me.’ I don’t know how she did it. I would have been so nervous, but she did. She sang one of her songs and Lana cried. It’s become a family affair.”
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