Two of American indie rock’s most formidable artists, Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen, shared the stage Tuesday on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon to perform their new collaborative track ‘Like I Used To’.
‘Like I Used To’ is a great song from two musicians who certainly know their way around a great song. We were big fans when it first premiered back in May, and the live version serves as a reminder that these are two singer-songwriters at the absolute top of their respective games.
The performance on Fallon, with its own ‘Born to Run’-adjacent mix of guitar lines and glockenspiel, finds the two husky-voiced singers trading vocal duties and playing off each other like they’ve been bandmates for decades. If the song itself is an illustration of just how much Van Etten and Olsen have in common, the performance works to highlight the more unique aspects of artists’ style.
Decked out with a killer cherry-red Gibson ES-135, Van Etten is in full rock star mode, imbuing the soft song with a proper sense of swagger. Olsen, meanwhile, channels old-style country greats with what I believe is a Gibson Hummingbird acoustic and a splendid sparkling blue pantsuit. Olsen brings the tenderness and folky charm, but both are evocative in their differences.
There’s no real indication that this team-up is anything more than a one-off. Both artists have extremely successful solo careers and are likely to be incredibly busy once the live touring machine fires back up again this year. Van Etten has the ability to tour behind the tenth anniversary of her second LP epic while Olsen can promote her new box set Song fo the Lark and Other Far Memories.
But maybe, just maybe, this could be the catalyst for a new partnership that puts out a steady stream of duets. For now, that only exists in my dreams, but until Van Etten and Olsen decide to form a real band together, I’ll just have to keep listening to ‘Like I Used To’ on loop.
Check out the performance of ‘Like I Used To’ down below.