French Singer/Songwriter Pomme Covers Dolly Parton’s “Coat of Many Colors,” Plants ‘Roots’ in New York City During First U.S. Tour

“I’m so glad you guys came to hear my sad French songs,” said Pomme (Claire Pommet) to the audience at Webster Hall in New York City on Saturday, June 15. “I’m just going to be alone, and you’re going to be my New York choir.”

New York was one stop on the French singer and songwriter’s select run of shows on her first U.S. tour, which concluded in Los Angeles on June 19. Supporting the release of her 2024 release Saisons (Seasons), Pomme offered to give the crowd a “best of” her albums, beginning with a newer “_jun perseides,” one of the seasonal songs orchestrated on the new album, which was partly co-produced by The National‘s Aaron Dessner.

Throughout the evening Pomme would move back in time, five years earlier, to revisit her second album Les Failles (Faults), beginning with “Je Sais Pas Danser” (“I Don’t Dance”), which was co-written with her co-producer Albin De La Simone. Wondering how many French people were in the crowd who could sing along, she revealed that she studied English before her U.S. dates. “I still have to speak English,” she said. “I studied English a lot just to be able to talk to you guys.”

While admiring the size of the venue, Pomme was greeted with a surprise bouquet of roses before segueing into her “La Rivière,” pulled from her 2020 album, consolation, and inspired by Hayao Miyazaki’s 2001 animated fantasy film Spirited Away. “I had the chance to grow up with it [the film] when I was a kid in France,” shared Pomme. “It’s [the song] is about that movie and the fact that it’s so frightening and also so beautiful. It’s about a lot of lessons on life.”

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[RELATED: French Singer and Songwriter Pomme Moves Through Musical ‘Seasons’ on Fourth Album, Including ‘Winter’ with Aaron Dessner]

Sprinkling in more from Les Failles throughout the evening Pomme also offered up the tenderer “Pourquoi La Mort Te Fait Peur” (“Why Does Death Scare You”), along with “Soleil Soleil,” “Anxiété,” and her second of two encore songs, “Grandiose.”

“I wanted to do something special today,” said Pomme before surprising the audience midway into her set with a cover of Dolly Parton‘s 1971 hit “Coat of Many Colors.” Sitting down with an autoharp in her lap, Pomme revealed she was inspired to teach herself to play the instrument after she learned that June Carter played one in the 2005 Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line.

“When I was a teenager, I used to listen to a lot of country music,” shared Pomme. “I saw ‘Walk the Line’ when I was maybe 13 or 14 … and learned [to play autoharp] on YouTube when I was in high school. But I was listening to that music through most of my teenage years, bluegrass and country—and Lady Gaga. Yes, Lady Gaga and Bluegrass. And that’s when I found out about Dolly Parton.”

She added, “Since then she [Parton] has been one of my favorites. I think about her every time I come to the U.S. and she’s been a huge influence.” Struggling through some verses, Pomme said she first learned “Coat of Many Colors” in French at 16, and had the English lyrics printed out for the performance.

“New York City, are there any queer people in the room,” asked Pomme before what she called her “queer song” and earlier one, “On Brûlera,” roughly translated in English as “We Will Burn,” from her 2017 debut À peu près. “This song is for all the people who don’t feel like they fit,” she said. “And it’s the best thing you can feel. After a few years, you realize it’s nice not to fit.”

After taking a group photo of the audience and then passing around a digital camera through the audience, which she said she would share on her Instagram, Pommer returned to consolation, dedicating one of her few English-language songs, “Very Bad,” to the act of releasing toxic people—I was nevеr in love with you / I was trying to find myself / I was never in love with you / I found myself.

Released on Pomme’s quarantine phone sessions in 2020, “Weird” was her third English offering of the night. “Everything is so f–ked up and weird at the moment in so many different places, and in France,” said Pomme. “So it’s special for me to sing this song again four years later and still feel like it’s something that I need to remind myself of, the beauty of things, because everything is getting weirder and weirder.”

After circling back to À peu près on “Ceux Qui Rêvent” Pomme expressed her discomfort with the protocol of encores but instructed the audience to call her back if they wanted to hear more before closing on “Anxiété” and “Jardin.”

The audience called, and she returned and delivered two final songs: “B.” and “Grandiose.”

Pomme at Webster Hall, New York City, June 15, 2024, Setlist:

1. “_Jun Perseides”
2. “Je Sais Pas Danser”
3. “Nelly”
4. “La Rivière”
5. “Pourquoi La Mort Te Fait Peur”
6. “Coat of Many Colors” (Dolly Parton Cover)
7. “On Brûlera”
8. “Very Bad”
9. “Weird”
10. “Ceux Qui Rêvent”
11. “Soleil Soleil”
12. “Anxiété”
13. “Jardin”

___Encore

14. “B.”
15. “Grandiose”

Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

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