Rather than turning “Running Back” into an acoustic ballad, Bright Eyes’ rendition is pretty faithful to the 1976 original, complete with jaunty keys and scratchy electric guitar. Conor Oberst even sounds pretty similar to late Thin Lizzy singer Phil Lynott, adding some full-throated grit to his usual croak.
Bright Eyes originally recorded “Running Back” for SiriusXM in 2020 before giving it an official release for Secretly Canadian’s SC25 Singles series. The Indiana label celebrated its 25th anniversary last year by having artists release singles benefitting the local homeless shelter New Hope for Families. The campaign has continued into 2022 with “Running Back” as the label seeks to raise $250,000 for the shelter.
“Running Back” isn’t Bright Eyes’ first charitable single since returning in August 2020 with Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was Dances Through Grief and Love, which marked their first full-length release in nearly a decade. A few months later, the band released “Miracle of Life,” a Planned Parenthood-benefitting track that featured the talents of Phoebe Bridgers, Flea, and Queens of the Stone Age drummer Jon Theodore.
Prior to bringing “Running Back” to all platforms, Bright Eyes shared their cover of Vic Chestnutt’s “Flirted with You All My Life” last February. Here’s to hoping these songs make it on the setlist for the folk band’s upcoming US tour, which you can get tickets to here.