“Rush Hour (An Inadvertent Meditation for a Friend)” is a collaboration between Speed the Plough’s John and Toni Baumgartner featuring Beirut based vocalist Mayssa Jallad of the band Safar. A sweeping, delicate track, it accentuates the refined musical sensibilities of Speed the Plough (dashes of folk, classical) with a world-inspired, otherworldly performance from Jallad. It is a brief but potent reminder of life’s fragility, whether in this time or another.
Speaking from their home in New Jersey, the Baumgarnters point out that they had intended to begin work on new Speed the Plough music when the 2020 pandemic hit. “We had to find people who could accommodate us long distance,” says John.
The pair had the basis for “Rush Hour” and had contemplated keeping the song an instrumental until they remembered Jallad, whose band had shared bills with Speed the Plough. “They were doing an Instagram interview while we were in serious lockdown”, John recalls. “I jumped in on the conversation and asked Mayssa if she’d like to sing on this track.”