Under the Radar shines a light on lesser-known cover artists. If you’re not listening to these folks, you should.
I’d never heard of Samm Bennett until he posted a link on Cover Me’s Facebook page (moral: submit your stuff). The sights and sounds that greeted me at his YouTube page knocked me out. The song was Elvis’ early hit “All Shook Up,” twisted to a form both familiar and unsettling. Over a sludge-guitar riff, Bennett gestures and jerks like a homeless guy at the subway station. If Tim Burton made an Elvis biopic with the guy who directed I’m Not There, it might look like this.
A little exploring led to two more gems, both equally well conceived, recorded, and produced. His version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” does the impossible: it reinvents the most clichéd cover ever. Bennett does so by tossing out the original melody entirely, singing a tune you’re only half sure he planned in advance. Finally, there’s “I’m Waiting for the Man.” This cover stays slightly more faithful, to the extent that a Velvet Underground song played with a two-string cigar box guitar and jawharp can.
Check out all three videos below. Let us know what you think in the comments!
Samm Bennett – All Shook Up (Elvis cover)
Samm Bennett – Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen cover)
Samm Bennett – I’m Waiting for the Man (Velvet Underground cover)
Check out more Samm Bennett at YouTube.