Hailing from the blues hotbed of St. Louis, Bhi Bhiman isn’t your typical acoustic guitar-strumming, harp-blowing, scratchy-voiced folk troubadour. While many of his folk peers strive for the classic early-Bob Dylan aesthetic, Bhi’s voice has a soulful smoothness to it that makes him sound more like Cee-Lo Green than Ramblin’ Jack Elliot or Woody Guthrie. Considering the obvious vocal resemblance between Bhiman and the former Goodie Mob rapper, it seems only natural that Bhi would offer his own acoustic interpretation of Green’s most vocally-ambitious track, the hit single “Crazy” from the 2006 debut album by Gnarls Barkley, Green’s collaborative project with Danger Mouse.
Artists as diverse as the Violent Femmes, Ray LaMontagne, The Raconteurs, Booker T. Jones and even Paris Hilton have all released their own covers of this iconic tune, but none of them capture and expand on the themes of the original the way Bhiman does. Thanks to both the strength of his voice and its similarity to Cee-Lo’s, Bhi matches the intensity, drama and spookiness of the original vocal part — the central and key element of the whole composition. His acoustic re-framing preserves the throbbing from the original track’s bassline, but vastly simplifies Danger Mouse’s intricate, hip-hop-meets-Motown production style of accompaniment. Hopefully most listeners have recovered from this song being overplayed like crazy five years ago, because this new version deserves more than a few listens. Check out the track below, and download a few tracks from Bhiman, his most recent album, for free on NoiseTrade.
Check out more from Bhi Bhiman on his website.