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Hear Violinist-Arranger Rob Moose Collaborate With Brittany Howard on Powerful New Song

Rob Moose, the yMusic violinist who has worked with Miley Cyrus, Alabama Shakes, Maren Morris, Bon Iver, Taylor Swift, and many others, will put out his first truly solo release, Inflorescence, this summer. The five-song EP features collaborations with Brittany Howard, Phoebe Bridgers, Bon Iver, Sara Bareilles, and Emily King, and the first track from the album, out Aug. 11, that he’s releasing from it is “I Bend but Never Break,” his shimmery, elastic collaboration with Howard.

The track starts with string glissandi that sound a bit like slide whistles before congealing into a chamber-pop arrangement, over which Howard sings, “I bend but never break/I am not fearless/but fear will never stop me.” Moose’s arrangement grows and swells as Howard’s voice gathers the courage she needs for the song.

“I wrote ‘I Bend but Never Break’ during a trying time where I felt like all I could do was ask for strength externally,” Howard, who first worked with Moose in 2014 on the Shakes’ Sound & Color, said in a statement. “I felt tapped out. The world can feel out of control sometimes and terrifying. I wanted to imagine the song as a lifeline to what goodness and positivity exists during those feelings of overwhelm.”

“I’ve only worked on a handful of songs with Brittany, but she’s made an outsize impact on my artistry,” Moose said. “When the opportunity arose to make my own artist project, I knew Brittany had to be a part of it. When I first heard ‘I Bend but Never Break,’ I was as inspired as I was intimidated by it. I think it took me the better part of a year to even try to interact with it, in spite of writing about it every day in journal entries.”

“One day, out of nowhere, I had an idea for an intro based on the song’s final, choral section,” he continued. “After months of delay, I raced to the studio and began mocking up the part on piano. It was a full circle moment for me: Five years later, I had the opportunity to make something that I hoped would have an impact similar to the one [the song] ‘Sound & Color’ made on me. I’m incredibly proud of the result and honored to play a part in presenting this amazing song to the world.”

Moose will release one song a month leading up to the EP’s release. “Wasted,” featuring Phoebe Bridgers — with whom he collaborated on the Copycat Killer EP — will come out May 12. Until then, there’s still plenty of Moose’s music to listen to, including his arrangements for Miley Cyrus’ “Flowers” and Mitski and David Byrne’s Oscar-nominated song “This Is a Life” from Everything Everywhere All at Once.


Inflorescence track list:

1. “I Bend but Never Break” (feat. Brittany Howard)
2. “Can Only Be Love” (feat. Emily King)
3. “Marvel Room” (feat. Bon Iver)
4. “Wasted” (feat. Phoebe Bridgers)
5. “Extract” (feat. Sara Bareilles)

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