Musician, best-selling author, TED speaker, and community leader Amanda Palmer and powerhouse female supergroup The Righteous Babes have united to pay homage to the late, great Sinéad O’Connor with a deeply personal rendition of the Irish singer-songwriter’s classic “The Last Day of Our Acquaintance” – arranged by composer/arranger Jherelk Bischoff – available everywhere today.
LISTEN TO “THE LAST DAY OF OUR ACQUAINTANCE”
Newly returned to the United States following an 8-day tour of New Zealand that extended into a two-year pandemic holding pattern, a heartbroken Palmer penned a passionate encomium upon O’Connor’s unfortunate passing that was read by over 3M via Facebook. Inspired by the response, she decided to create a fast cover of “The Last Day of Our Acquaintance” (from O’Connor’s landmark 1990 second album, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got), recording initial tracks in Los Angeles with longtime collaborator/co-producer Jherek Bischoff – now, as always, fully crowdfunded by Palmer’s trailblazing Patreon. A portion of the proceeds from the song will be donated to The Irish Women Survivors Support Network.
As fate would have it, Palmer’s local music friends The Righteous Babes – the female supergroup comprising chamber-pop piano-violin duo Gracie and Rachel, folk-rock guitarist Holly Miranda, and percussionist/electric ukulele player Jocelyn Mackenzie, banded under Ani DiFranco’s legacy label, Righteous Babe Records – were preparing for an upcoming tour of the states in Palmer and The Dresden Dolls’ home rehearsal studio in Bearsville, NY. Palmer and the Righteous Babes set to work, quickly recording the vocals for “The Last Day of Our Acquaintance” at Woodstock, NY’s Applehead Studios. To complete the tribute, original artwork was commissioned from another close friend and collaborator, South African artist/visual storyteller Niki McQueen.
“Women have been using songs to send message-in-a-bottle missives of strength to one another for millennia,” says Amanda Palmer. “I was a struggling 14-year-old songwriter when I first learned how to play ‘The Last Day of Our Acquaintance, 33 years ago. I’m only just starting to untangle and assess how much Sinéad’s songwriting, and her pure, physical voice schooled me as a young artist.
“Her death has dredged up a massive wake of questions about how society treats women who dare to speak truth to power. I am a survivor of multiple sexual assaults who has heard thousands of heartbreaking stories from within my community, and I know the excruciating cost of raising your voice against the system. It felt incredibly liberating to be physically surrounded by a group of power-women, The Righteous Babes, for this recording session. It felt a kind of alchemical magic as we all hollered our hearts out into those microphones; you could feel the blanket of support in the room, and I hope we did Sinéad proud.
“I hope Sinéad will be remembered not just for her struggle within a system that couldn’t contain her majestic talent, but more for her songs, which are blazing, honest beacons of sonic light to people trying to navigate out of the darkness. Her songs do what truly profound music should do: they help us grieve and heal, but most importantly, they help us remember why we fight, and why we don’t stop screaming the truth even when it costs us dearly. The world loved the taste of her, the world didn’t know how to digest her, and the world spit her out. I hope she forgives us all for what we could not do to help her.”