Phoebe Bridgers Covers Merle Haggard’s ‘If We Make It Through December,’ Benefiting LA’s Downtown Women’s Center

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Rock Cellar Magazine

“If We Make It Through December” was a song originally released by Merle Haggard and the Strangers in October 1973, as the lead single from Merle Haggard’s Christmas Present — and the song has been covered by acclaimed singer/songwriter Phoebe Bridgers for a special charity release.

As shared on Monday by Bridgers, the song is a benefit fundraiser for the Downtown Women’s Center, an organization in Los Angeles focused exclusively on serving and empowering women experiencing homelessness and formerly homeless women. 

Listen to Bridgers’ customarily hushed and elegant rendition of the track below:

And here’s the original from the late, great Merle Haggard:

This cover is the latest bit of activity from the Bridgers, who also teamed up with Maggie Rogers on a rendition of the Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris” a couple of weeks back, before releasing Copycat Killer, a four-song EP of reimagined songs from Bridgers’ excellent 2020 album Punisher.

That EP, a collaboration with Grammy Award-winning string player/arranger Rob Moose, can be heard below:

Click here to pick up the original Punisher album from our Rock Cellar Store. 

And here’s some more about Punisher from our album review:

Releasing Punisher in the middle of a global pandemic probably wasn’t what Phoebe Bridgers had in mind for her new album, but there’s really no better soundtrack for wiling away the hours sheltering in place and worrying about both the present and the future, while openly acknowledging the absurdity of it all — a testament to Phoebe Bridgers’ uncanny ability to find beauty among the chaos of the human condition.

That Punisher was released when it was — in a time of significant social unrest and a global pandemic that has ravaged all areas of “normal life,” with the prospect of things returning to what they were a wistful dream — almost seems appropriate, given the record’s themes of unease and vulnerability.

If you haven’t yet listened to Punisher, which was recorded with the assistance of a number of Bridgers’ colleagues and friends, including Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes (with whom Bridgers has another project, Better Oblivion Community Center), you should.

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