By Gregory AdamsWorking-class Midwesterners the Hold Steady haven't released a new LP since 2010's Heaven Is Whenever, but the rock group are getting ready to roll out a new tavern-approved tune to celebrate the upcoming third season of Game of Thrones.
An Entertainment Weekly interview with showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss confirmed that they had roped in the act to record a version of Thrones author George R.R. Martin's "The Bear and the Maiden Fair," which frequently appears in lyric form in the book series.
The ribald rhyme finds a hairy bear wandering into a fair to woo a maiden, who was kind of hoping a knight would swoop her off her feet. While Hold Steady will deliver the song, the original music was written by show's composer Ramin Djawadi.
Attaching indie rockers to the fantasy property is quickly becoming a tradition, with the National serving up "The Rains of Castamere" last season.
"As with the National, we went after one of our favourite bands and were happily surprised when they agreed to do it," Benioff and Weiss told Entertainment Weekly. "This is one of the most popular songs in Westeros, beloved by nobles and commoners alike, sung at taverns and feasts and etc.
"We wanted our rendition to be bawdy and a little sloppy — drunken musicians getting up on the table and jamming while the rowdy party continues around them. There was no one better for the job than the Hold Steady, and the song they delivered has been stuck in our heads for the last four weeks."
While they didn't say just when to expect the song to appear in the show, it will figure on a Record Store Day release, backed with an original Hold Steady song called "Criminal Fingers." You can nab the wax platter April 20.
For now, you can check out the lyrics to "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" below and get set for the third season of Game of Thrones to arrive on HBO on March 31. You can also see a new extended trailer for the new season at the bottom of the page.
"The Bear and the Maiden Fair":
"A bear there was," "A bear, A BEAR! "All black and brown," "And covered with hair!
"Oh come they said," "Oh come to the fair!" "The fair? said he, "But I'm a bear!" "All black and brown," "And covered in hair!"
"And down the road," "From here to there," "From here!To there!" "Three boys, a goat," "And a dancing bear!" "They danced and spun," "All the way to the fair!"
"Oh! sweet she was," "And pure and fair," "The maid with honey," "In her hair! Her hair," "The maid with honey," "in her hair!" The bear smelled the scent, "On the summer air!" "The Bear! The Bear!" "All black and brown," "And covered with hair!" "He smelled the scent," "On the summer air," "He sniffed and roared," "And smelled it there!" "Honey on the summer air!"
"Oh I'm a maid," "And I'm pure and fair," "I'll never dance," "With a hairy bear," "A bear! A bear!" "I'll never dance," "With a hairy bear!"
"The bear,the bear!" "Lifted her high," into the air!" The bear, the bear!"
"I called for a knight!" "But you're a bear!" "A bear! A bear," "All black and brown," "And cover in hair!"
"She kicked and wailed," "The maid so fair," "But he licked the honey," "From her hair!" "Her hair! Her hair!" "He licked the honey," "From her hair!"
"Then she sighed and squealed," "And kicked the air," "She sang: My bear so fair," "And off they went," "The bear! The bear!" "And the maiden fair!"