Julia Jacklin shares homage to Rowland S. Howard’s ‘Shivers’

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Julia Jacklin shares homage to Rowland S. Howard’s ‘Shivers’

Julia Jacklin Shivers
Words by Mixdown Staff

There’s not many artists, both Australian and international, that have left the legacy that Rowland S. Howard has left.

Julia Jacklin, a now world-renowned singer-songwriter hailing from the Blue Mountains, has shared a touching homage to Rowland with a cover of ‘Shivers’, originally performed by The Boys Next Door, Howard’s band with Nick Cave, who would become The Birthday Party. The cover comes after Jacklin was asked to contribute to a celebration of the life of producer Tony Cohen who recorded the original version of ‘Shivers’. The cover coincides with the release of Half Deaf, Completely Mad, a book about Cohen’s life, written by John Olson.

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Shivers cover

Jacklin’s rendition is iconically warm, spacious and lush, offering her own stamp on the sparse and minimal arrangement of both The Boys Next Door version and Howard’s solo version that would come later. ‘Shivers’ was originally released in 1979, and Jacklin’s cover leans heavily on the original, with spacious, harmonically rich textures surrounding her angelic vocal delivery. The subject matter is heavy, but delivered in a calming and peaceful way. The reverberant, jangly guitar would make Howard proud, often seen with a Fender Jaguar strung across his shoulder. Jacklin says:

“It’s been covered a lot, but it’s a special one for me. It was one of the first songs I ever learnt to play. Many Sydney bars, venues and open mic nights have heard me sing this song. Howard wrote it at 16 and I’ve always loved how much the lyrics capture that type of unbridled, dramatic teenage infatuation. The kind that physically hurts but also makes you laugh at yourself.”

The song, arrangement and mix feel familiar to Jacklin, which shows an intimate relationship with the song. ‘Shivers’ was one of the first songs Jacklin ever performed, singing it at an open mic night during the start of her career. 

 You can listen to the cover here.