Among the numerous tragedies to occur in 2020 was the untimely passing of Hobart Blankenburg, one of the Baltimore music scene’s most prodigious figures. Now, his band mates in Nahja Mora pay tribute to his memory with a new track, a cover of “The Devil” by alternative and art rock artist P.J. Harvey. Originally released as the third single and opening track from Harvey’s 2007 White Chalk album, the single marks the first new release from Nahja Mora following the May 2020 release of the Greenest Forest EP, mastered by Eric Oehler (Null Device, Klack) at Submersible Studios; the track was produced and programmed by Nahja Mora founder and front man Joset Saint, sharing vocal duties with bass player Jenny Rae Mettee. “The Devil” is available now as a name-your-price item on Bandcamp.
Hobart Blankenburg is survived by his wife Sara, an accomplished painter and artist, and daughter Aria; as such, the cover art for “The Devil” is a composite of several of Sara’s paintings and a drawing by Aria, with Saint having added a piece of jade marble and a MIDI cable he and Blankenburg often used to sync their respective systems, now “retired out of respect.” In addition, Saint issued a personal statement accompanying the single, which follows:
On October 27, 2020, I received some of the worst news I could have possibly imagined. My dear friend, musical partner of some 17 years, Hobart M. Blankenburg, had passed. I fell into an impossible depth of grief and madness – unable to eat or sleep – a song repeated in my head. A song I have loved since first hearing it; a song that my grief identified with.
At a mad pace, Jenny and I expressed our feelings of loss in the days following Hobart’s passing. We committed our emotions to permanent record through the words and music of Ms. Polly Jean Harvey.
In honor of Hobart M. Blankenburg, Nahja Mora releases a cover of P.J. Harvey’s “The Devil” from her White Chalk album. All proceeds from this recording will go to the respective rights holder and to Hobart’s surviving family.
The world has lost one of the best that ever was… please join us in remembering Hobart M. Blankenburg.