Having already shredded her way into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Heart, guitarist Nancy Wilson is finally embarking on a solo career. Her debut album is expected in early 2021, and she’s now shared the lead single, a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “The Rising”.
Written in the aftermath of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks, “The Rising” arrived as an instant classic. Springsteen wrote from the perspective of a firefighter rushing into the crumbling World Trade Center towers. As only The Boss can do, the song felt simultaneously hyper-specific and universal, with lines like “Can’t see nothin’ in front of me/ Can’t see nothin’ coming up behind,” capturing both an individual’s terrifying ascent and the national mood. When the uplifting chorus appeared, it did so with the sudden warmth of a sunbeam piercing the clouds.
Now, as the coronavirus pandemic gears up for a third wave, and Americans struggle with the psychic weight of a high-stakes election, Wilson has brought a fresh take on “The Rising”. Her voice is lighter, her instrumental arrangement more sunny and sweet. It’s not that her cover lacks darkness — quite the opposite. Wilson’s rendition sounds like a woman smiling through the pain.
In a statement, she explained her reasons for covering the song: “I wanted to make something uplifting and aspirational for those of us who are suffering with all this sickness and loss. I hope this song can help lift our spirits.”
Check out a lyric video for Wilson’s “The Rising” below. Earlier this year, Wilson was interviewed about her contributions to the Almost Famous soundtrack in a new oral history podcast.