Sarah Sample is making good on a promise with her new cover of Pearl Jam's "Nothingman." It's for her husband, James -- a reward long overdue.

James, Sample shares, is her biggest supporter: the one who encouraged her to record her debut album more than a decade and a half ago and "an all-star single parent" while she's on the road. And when she used Kickstarter to fund her most recent album, 2018's Redwing, James threw in $500.

"I was grateful for the gesture," Sample says, explaining that donors at that level received from Sample a cover of a song of their choice, "but I thought it was just that, a kind gesture, and I never recorded his song." James, however, was waiting, and when Sample was looking for a birthday gift for him, he suggested she record his reward.

"Fast forward a few months, and I found myself at my favorite studio, June Audio, with a handful of my favorite friends and musicians," she recounts, so they recorded "Nothingman" live. "The room felt electric -- and a warm glow buzzed in my body that assured me we were on the right musical track and had found the vibe we were looking for."

Written by Eddie Vedder and Jeff Ament for Pearl Jam's third studio album, 1994's Vitalogy, "Nothingman" is a song about what happens when love falls apart. "She once believed in every story he had to tell / One day, she stiffened, took the other side / Empty stares from each corner of a shared prison cell / One just escapes, one's left inside the well," go the lyrics.

"I came home the next day, and after our kids were asleep, I turned off the lights, and we listened to the rough mix of "Nothingman." James didn't say a word while the track played," Sample recalls, "but his shoulders shook by the end, and in tears he told me he loved it."

A nomadic childhood led Sample to her career in folk music and a life in Wyoming with her husband and their two daughters. In addition to having recorded six solo albums, Sample is a founding member of the Lower Lights, a folk-gospel collective.

Listen to Sarah Sample's "Nothingman" Cover

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