Ben Folds’ original recording of “Late” is very, very good. But this stripped-down acoustic version, built on a vocal-and-guitar iPhone demo by John Elderkin (The Popes, Mad Crush), strips away the original’s gloss to offer something more - a fragile look at a broken heart bleeding out. Elderkin added a new vocal and a second guitar track to the demo, and a string quartet (members of the Charlotte Symphony) performs a gorgeous arrangement by Ron Brendle. The power and intimacy of the performance can bring tears. The soul of the project.

Composer: Ben Folds
Ron Brendle- string arrangement
Jane Hart Brendle- violins
Matt Darsey- viola
Marlene Ballena- cello
John Elderkin- acoustic guitars, lead vocal

Produced by Chris Garges, Ed Bumgardner, and Rob Slater
Recorded and mixed by Chris Garges at Old House House Studio, Charlotte, NC
*Except main acoustic guitar recorded by John Elderkin on his cell phone, Durham, NC
Mastered by Scott Craggs at Old Colony Mastering, Scituate, RI
Vinyl lacquer master cut by Jeff Powell at Take-Out Vinyl, Memphis, TN
© all rights reserved


Under some dirty words on a dirty wall
Eatin' takeout by myself
I played the show
Got back in the van and put the Walkman on
And you were playing

In some other dive a thousand miles away
I've played a thousand times before
And like pathetic stars, the truck stops, and the rock club walls
I always knew
You saw them too
But you never will again

Steve Ruppenthal, you played a fine guitar
And some lousy basketball
The songs you wrote
Got me through a lot
I just need to tell you that

Things were looking up
Least that's what I heard
Something came and washed away your hard-earned
Peace of mind

When desperate static beats the silence up
A quiet truth to calm you down
The songs you wrote
Got me through a lot
I just need to tell you that

But it's too late
It's too late