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.
We Are the Willows first hit the Cover Me radar back in December. Minnesota songwriter Peter Miller’s ethereal singing entranced us, sounding like the Beach Boys if you removed everything but the highest harmony. We knew that voice would create some unique covers.
Readers selected from songs by Imogen Heap and the Shins, but perennial underdog Randy Newman took the crown with “Political Science.” As everyone knows, a Cover Commissions victory makes up for an Oscar loss. Miller describes his approach:
I fell in love with this song because it was covered by one of my favorite bands, Pedro the Lion. I really love basically anything David Bazan does and when I heard his cover of Political Science I really wanted to play it as well. Randy Newman’s version is of course, also awesome. I play this song at almost every show when I play solo.
One of my favorite parts about how this song turned out is that at the end there are these background “oooh’s” that sound like sirens and they are under the last verse about bombing all these other countries. I didn’t really plan on that. I recorded this song in my basement in Minneapolis, MN.
We Are the Willows – Political Science (Randy Newman)
On a roll, Miller recorded one of the other nominees: “Make the World Go Away,” by country music pioneer Eddy Arnold. There’s a morbid humor in pairing a song called “Make the World Go Away” with one that implores us to “drop the big one.” Well played, Peter.
This was one of my Grandpa’s favorite songs. He was a real romantic guy and a very tender soul. I played this song at his funeral and ever since it’s really stuck with me. I know that seems sorta masochistic, but there is something about playing that song that keeps my grandpa alive in some way. This song features Karin Hasse who plays in We Are the Willows when we play live. This song was recorded by Danny Wolf in Madrid, Iowa.
We Are the Willows – Make the World Go Away (Eddy Arnold)
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