Tall Heights and Ryan Montbleau Cover Crosby, Stills & Nash’s “Helplessly Hoping”

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Tall Heights’ Paul Wright and Tim Harrington first met Ryan Montbleau at an open mic in 2011, but the three musicians didn’t join forces until 2014, when Tall Heights backed Montbleau on a spare, guitar-driven folk number called “All or Nothing” and a deeply felt cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car,” which has since garnered tens of millions of streams.

Now, six years later, the three musicians return with another cover. Today Tall Heights and Montbleau premiere their rendition of Crosby, Stills & Nash’s “Helplessly Hoping” via American Songwriter. As with their “Fast Car” cover, this one features meticulous instrumentation, careful composition, and breathtaking vocal harmonies. Both covers exude a sense of reverence for their source material.

“At the end of the day the three of us share a passion for creating a singular emotional moment with a song. Crosby, Stills & Nash’s ‘Helplessly Hoping’ does that so well, and that’s why it was the clear choice for chapter two of our collaboration with Ryan,” Wright tells American Songwriter of the three musicians’ decision to cover the song.

Ryan Montbleau wrote “All of Nothing”

“Helplessly Hoping” first appeared on Crosby, Stills & Nash’s iconic 1969 self-titled debut album. That record also featured the hit singles “Marrakesh Express” and “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” plus the popular Crosby, Stills & Nash tracks “Wooden Ships” and “Long Time Gone.” Stills wrote “Helplessly Hoping” in 1968, telling Rolling Stone in the spring of 1969 that it’s “a real country song, as opposed to all those plastic Hollywood country songs by plastic country groups I read are happening now.”

“What a message and sentiment right now during a pandemic when every day is such a roller-coaster of emotion,” says Montbleau of listening to the song now. “Having all of your day-to-day routine taken away, whatever that may be, I think it’s making us all dig down deep and continue to find meaning in our lives in a way we haven’t had to before.”

For Tall Heights, “Helplessly Hoping” follows the indie folk duo’s latest singles–2019’s “Under Your Skin,” “Keeps Me Light,” “Depths,” and “Spirit Cold” (with Upper Structure). These singles came after their 2018 album Pretty Colors For Your Actions.

For Montbleau, “Helplessly Hoping” follows his 2018 live album Woodstock Sessions, which features Tall Heights on two tracks (“Looking Glass” and “All or Nothing”). The Massachusetts singer-songwriter and guitarist has consistently churned out new albums since his 2002 debut, Begin, honing his soulful approach to folk and funk along the way.

“Helplessly Hoping” is out tomorrow.


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