The Lagniappe Sessions :: Hamilton Leithauser on Frank Sinatra – The Covers


Lagniappe (la ·gniappe) noun ‘lan-ˌyap,’ — 1. An extra or unexpected gift or benefit. 2. Something given or obtained as a gratuity or bonus.

I can’t think of a more fitting pairing than that of Hamilton Leithauser taking on Sinatra. Subtle solo piano renderings highlighting Leithauser’s vocals, the pair of covers dig into the ageless nuance of Sinatra’s music. The chairman of the board, indeed. Leithauser on Sinatra, in his own words, below…

Hamilton Leithauser :: All Or Nothing At All (Frank Sinatra)

There are so many versions of this song, I figured I could do my own without stepping on anyone’s toes, or setting myself up for an unreasonable  comparison.   There’s also so many terrible versions of this song, I figured it wouldn’t be all that hard to not be the absolute  worst.   It actually has a slightly odd chord  progression for such a well-known classic, and it’s a fun one to play.

Hamilton Leithauser :: It Gets Lonely Early (Frank Sinatra)

A sad, dreary, slog that’s kinda fun to sink into. On of my favorites off The September of My Years. It’s a mid-album wallower. The only thing we  were missing was like the funereal bell at the beginning.   But we’re plenty dreary. I love this song.

Leithauser gigs Thursday night, here in Los Angeles, at the Echo supporting his solo debut, The Black Hours. We have some tickets for AD readers, plus a deluxe copy of the LP. To land them, leave a comment with your name and favorite Leithauser vocal performance, solo or otherwise. Winners notified Wednesday night.

Lagniappe Sessions Archives / original illustration  for aquarium drunkard by Ben Towle.

18 thoughts on “The Lagniappe Sessions :: Hamilton Leithauser on Frank Sinatra – The Covers

  1. My favorite vocal performance my Mr. Leithauser is the opener from You and Me, Donde Esta La Playa. Just such a great opener and to me its the epitome of the Walkmen and Hamilton’s sound. Sets the mood just perfectly.

  2. I’ve been a fan since Jonathan Fire Eater and his voice has always been strong and distinctive. I could never pick one song, or even one album. To really appreciate his voice, I would suggest looking on the web to find some of his performances with the Walkmen where he doesn’t use a mic. He projects so well, he doesn’t need one.

    Looking forward to seeing him in SF this weekend!

  3. Webster Hall, NYC, 2004. Stumbled into the venue with five friends to Hamilton screaming out the opening lines of “Thinking of a Dream.” It sounded amazing, but we were devastated, thinking that we had gotten there late and that The Walkmen were at the end of their set–because why else would he be shredding his vocal chords like that? Turns out it was the first song–Hamilton was just warming up. He then proceeded to deliver the next couple of songs in that blistering manner that only he can. To this day, all six of us still hold that show up as the #1 live performance we’ve ever witnessed.

  4. My favorite Hamilton performances were any of the Letterman appearances. It seems they built a rapport with David and were eagerly welcomed back for their Juveniles performance. Amazing talent, amazing voice. Please lemme win!

  5. Favorite Hamilton performance has to be the first time I saw them live which was at Bumbershoot in 2008. The (future) wife and I had heard some 100 Miles Off and it was ok so we decided to check them out on a smaller stage. Walked right up to the front and they opened mellow with What’s in it for me. Wow, great song, hadn’t heard that one. Mental note to grab their old album. Then a song or two later this skinny guy in a tight leather jacket arches his back and just wails The Rat. Holy balls, we were both blown away. How on earth can he keep that up? He’s going to pop an artery in his neck! Then some stuff off You and Me (with horns) and we are fans for life. Canadian Girl was the song we danced to at our wedding.

  6. Wow, sounds really gorgeous!! I’m loving Black Hours so much, what a great album 🙂

  7. Favorite (and only) Leithauser performance I’ve been privy to was with The Walkmen, after having Misty open for them in Columbus, OH in 2012. Went for Tillman, left a bigger Walkmen/Leithauser fan than I entered. ‘We Can’t Be Beat’ was a standout IMO.

  8. New Country at bower ballroom august 2008 release party for you and me. His singing has objectively gotten better since, but that was most electric a room full of live music has ever felt to me.

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