Premiere: Joel Harrison's "So Long Chelsea Hotel"

Article Contributed by Baby Robot Media | Published on Monday, August 14, 2017

Check out the new video from Joel Harrison, whom The New York Times has called “protean” and “brilliant.” The song gives a lyrical nod to Robert Hunter writing "Stella Blue" at the Chelsea, along with many of the hotel's other notorious rock & roll denizens, and musically it channels the feel of the Dead's "Mississippi Half-Step."

Always eclectic, veteran guitarist/songwriter Harrison has previously recorded traditional country standards with Norah Jones, as well as big-band albums & avant-noise skronk—and that just scratches the surface. His latest—pensive, dreamy Americana/indie-folk record The Other River—dips its bucket at every turn into the deep well of American music.

With it's slithering upright bass, ragtime piano & swirling psychedelic organ, "So Long Chelsea Hotel" finds Harrison playfully lamenting the gentrification & skyrocketing rents that led to the closing of this seedy New York City landmark. Harrison himself lived at The Chelsea for a time, in the wake of notable guests from Dylan Thomas and Jack Kerouac to Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Robert Hunter, Patti Smith and Sid & Nancy. It's a fittingly sordid, ramshackle tribute, delivered with a sneering bite that prefers the profane to the sacred.