Premiere: Roscoe & Etta, ‘Broken Headlights’

Roscoe & Etta
Roscoe & Etta

Roscoe & Etta is the name adopted by singer-songwriters Maia Sharp and Anna Schulze for their work as a duo, and it is not a name they chose willy-nilly. Roscoe and Etta are the “cranky old guitars” on which Sharp and Schulze wrote their self-titled album, which is coming out Sept. 7.

The two might be decades apart in age, but on the duo’s painterly first single “Broken Headlights,” their voices feel right as rain — the kind that “clears the air over Los Angeles,” as Sharp sings. Over the song’s strings and rolling percussion, you might feel that rain’s cleansing power … and you might also wonder if “fast cars with broken headlights” are really cars at all.

“Sometimes a city is just the reflective backdrop of life within it. Sometimes it’s shamelessly influential and shapes our identity more than we realize,” Sharp says of the song, which she co-wrote with Joey Ryan of the Milk Carton Kids. “Those sentiments are at the root of ‘Broken Headlights.’

“Joey (with Sara Bareilles) did a beautiful version of ‘Broken Headlights’ a few years ago. I was just waiting for the right time to give it another life and this was it. Producing it with Anna helped us uncover the grit-to-beauty ratio of Roscoe & Etta.” Adds Schulze: “The union of organic and inorganic sounds turned out to be a reflection of our complimentary styles.”

Sharp, of course, has a long history of juggling that “grit/beauty” ratio. Besides her seven solo releases and collaborative project with Art Garfunkel and Buddy Mondlock, Sharp’s songs have been recorded by the Dixie Chicks, Bonnie Raitt, Trisha Yearwood, Keb’ Mo’, Cher, Edwin McCain, David Wilcox, Lisa Loeb, Lizz Wright and many more. Schulze’s latest full-length, “Pickford Market,” came out in 2016, and her songs have a growing number of movie ad TV credits.

“Broken Headlights” is out on Friday.

||| Stream: “Broken Headlights”