Alexandra Sauser-Monnig is one third of the great folk vocal trio Mountain Man, and she also makes her own music under the exceedingly badass name Daughter Of Swords. Sauser-Manning released her debut album Dawnbringer, keeping it in the family by working with producer Nick Sanborn. (Sanborn is in Sylvan Esso with Amelia Meath. Meath is in Mountain Man with Sauser-Manning. So: a bandmate-of-a-bandmate situation.) Earlier this year, Sauser-Manning teamed up with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy on the single “Prairie Wonder Wasteland.” And today, Sauser-Manning has released a version of a very old song.”
“What Wondrous Love Is This?” is a traditional American hymn that dates back to sometime in the early 19th century. It has no clear author, and it was first publish in a songbook in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1811. Sauser-Manning has made the song a staple of her live show. She sings it a cappella, with no accompaniment, and the whole room tends to go silent when she does it.
The recorded version is just like the live one — one voice, no instruments, the sound of the room providing its own kind of ambience. In a press release Sauser-Manning says, “Being human is raw, especially now, and ‘What Wondrous Love is This?’ is an invitation to touch down in the moment and let yourself be.” Listen to it below.
Daughter Of Swords’ version of “What Wondrous Love Is This?” will be out on Bandcamp tomorrow. Also, NPR has just posted the video of the Tiny Desk Concert that Sauser-Manning recorded at the radio network’s DC offices before quarantine. If you’d like to check it out, it’s here: