CeeLo Green partnered with his son Kingston Callaway for a Billboard Live At-Home family jam session Tuesday (April 14) to raise money for Direct Relief, which equips medical workers with necessary equipment.
“The Callaway Quarantine,” as dubbed by the 44-year-old hitmaker (real name Thomas Callaway), blended CeeLo’s trademark soul flavor with a taste of British rock, alongside his 19-year-old son. The younger Callaway proposed kicking off the cozy concert with his father’s brand-new single “Lead Me,” which Green wrote with The Black Keys‘ Dan Auerbach for his upcoming album, due in June.
“It was really unique and interesting because I had never recorded a project in this fashion,” Green said about the songwriting and recording process with Auerbach. “What we did was like over the course of three months, I went back a few times and we just kind of sat around and pulled out the old acoustic or the ukulele and we sung these simple songs to each other. We ended up with about 12 ideas that we felt were strong enough to actually go in and record.”
Green stripped down “Lead Me” for its first-ever live acoustic rendition. He slapped his thighs and clapped his hands for the percussion, while his son led him with the spirited guitar rhythm.
Green described music as the “love language” conducting their special father-son moment, and he took that time to express his love to one of his mentors and all-time favorite artists, Al Green, with a classic cover of his 1972 song “Simply Beautiful.” “The music of that era will feed you and get you through,” he said while introducing the song. “This is the way that we’re surviving by opening ourselves up to the good vibrations, the good energy of the music of yesteryear.”
But once the two wrapped their vintage soul recital, the self-proclaimed alternative artist ventured “across the pond” for a cover of one of his other favorite songs, “Wonderwall” by the British rock band Oasis. His voice floated over the recognizable flow, melding what fans love most about CeeLo with what CeeLo loves most about music.
Watch Green’s entire Billboard Live At-Home father-son performance below, and donate to Direct Relief here.