The music world lost Charles Bradley to stomach cancer in 2017, but it seems like there’s more unreleased songs in the soul singer’s vault. Daptone Records has released “Lonely as You Are,” which was recorded with producer James Levy in 2016 around the time of Bradley’s diagnosis.
“Lonely as You Are” is a heart-wrenching ballad that mixes his raspy vocals with a bluesy instrumental provided by Nashville multi-instrumentalist Paul Defiglia, as well as Seth Avett and Mike Marsh of the Avett Brothers. “You think you’ve been lonely, but loneliness is mine / As lonely as you are it ain’t bad as mine,” he sings. The song then closes with Bradley calling upon the matriarchs in his family to wait for him at the pearly gates when he arrives, reflecting on his mortality.
“Charles knew ‘Lonely as You Are’ could comfort people and help them find a way to deal with their own loneliness,” said Bradley’s former co-manager, Morton Lorge, in a press statement. “He was always looking for ways to make people feel better, even when he was confronting his own pain and suffering. He asked that ‘Lonely’ be played at his funeral; he wanted to share it with the world.”
“Lonely as You Are” is the first of two songs from Bradley’s session with Levy. The second, “Lucifer,” will be released on May 31.
Listen to “Lonely as You Are” below: