Cover Commissions is a monthly series in which a featured artist covers a reader-selected song for this blog. Any artists interested in participating, email me at the address on the right.
I consider one month a fast Cover Commissions turnaround, but this is just ridiculous. The polling for Tinyfolk’s Commissions closed just one week ago and we’ve already got the finished cover. Two versions of it in fact. Plus a bonus track!
Voting almost hit a three-way tie between Taylor Swift (“You Belong With Me”), Elton John and Jeremy Irons (“Be Prepared”) and Bonnie Tyler (“Total Eclipse of the Heart”), but in the end the ‘80s fans won out. Maybe synth solos are more popular than previously believed or maybe folks had seen the recent “literal video” for “Total Eclipse” that’s been making the rounds.
Taking on any song by legendarily epic songwriter Jim Steinman is a daunting task to be sure. There’s a reason there aren’t many “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” covers out there. Tinyfolk’s Russ Woods describes how he approached Bonnie’s epic ballad:
I’m pretty glad this got picked. I’m a huge Jim Steinman fan. I love his work with Bonnie Tyler, Meat Loaf, and yes, even Celine Dion. I’ve seen Streets of Fire, and own a CD of music from the German-language musical Tanz Der Vampire that Steinman scored. I’ve never covered one of his songs because they’re huge and epic and kind of intimidating. I put this on the list as a way to force myself to try it if it got picked. And it did.
We ended up with two different takes, one a bit dancier and one a bit folkier. Both involve me having to use the far extremes of my vocal range more than any song I’ve ever recorded. James Eric and I recorded them on Sunday after finishing up recording the new Tinyfolk album, Black Bears, which he produced. So, big thanks to James Eric, aka Garden on a Trampoline, for helping out.
Just like James did for us a year ago with his two versions of Devo’s “Beautiful World” and one of MGMT’s “Time to Pretend” (download them here), Russ has sent in not one cover, but three. First up, the Commissions winner. Turn around…
Apparently still having time to kill, Tinyfolk also tackled one of the other poll options: “Do Your Best.”
Tinyfolk – Do Your Best (John Maus)
These mp3s may be freely shared with the artist’s blessing. Post them on your blog, send them to your friends, tweet them to the world. When you share these though, please include a link to this site. Check back for future Cover Commissions installments.