Ray Padgett

Based in New York City and Vermont, Ray Padgett founded Cover Me in 2007 as a college student and has overseen it ever since. His writing has appeared in SPIN, MTV, Mashable, Consequence of Sound, and an upcoming Bob Dylan anthology. He's been interviewed about cover songs by the Wall Street Journal and the BBC and is currently working on a book on the subject. To preempt the oft-asked question, he doesn't think cover songs are better than originals; he just believes they're undervalued. Without covers, the world wouldn't have Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley, or even the Beatles. Follow him on Twitter or Instagram.

Jun 252015
 

For the past couple years, Bob Dylan has stuck to a pretty standard setlist on tour – kind of a bummer from an artist famous for switching it up night to night. And when he kicked off his new European tour over the weekend, he finally did just that. He’s brought in more songs from his terrific new Frank Sinatra cover album, and in Germany he debuted a cover of Willie Nelson‘s 1973 classic “Sad Songs and Waltzes.” Continue reading »

Jun 222015
 
gallant

Dave Grohl broke his leg last week and had to cancel a bunch of shows. Given the spate of recent great Foo Fighters covers though, maybe he should have just turned those dates into tribute concerts. Tessa Rose Jackson’s amazing version of the “The Pretender” might work for a quieter midpoint, but a tribute show should definitely kick off with Los Angeles R&B singer Gallant performing his storming new cover of “Learn to Fly.” Continue reading »

Jun 092015
 
jeremy-bass-nyis_1

Beatles covers are a dime a dozen these days (we’ve got a review of another tribute album going up later today in fact). The originals are so iconic it can be difficult to put one’s own stamp on it. Most covers stick too close to the originals, but then the braver attempts at dramatic reinterpretations fail ten times as often as they succeed. It’s hard to win.

On his new version of “Julia” though, classically-trained guitarist Jeremy Bass finds a nice middle ground. He reworks the song into a tender bossa nova rhythm for his new album New York in Spring, finding a new beauty in the melody without veering off into novelty Beatles Go Brazil!-type territory. Continue reading »

Jun 042015
 
FrancisandtheLights

Justin Vernon of Bon Iver has put together a music festival in his hometown of Eaux Claire, WI this summer, and they’ve been putting some cryptically-titled videos to promote it. One, titled “It Was a Train That Took Me Away From Here…” turns out to be a cover of Tom Waits‘ “Train Song” by Francis and the Lights. Performed surrounded by lights, it’s a beautifully-shot minimalist piano cover a far cry from the full band’s dancier work. Continue reading »

May 282015
 
Shamir

Before he turned to dance music, Las Vegas’s Shamir tried to become a country star. A local producer nixed the idea though, and while it helped him turn to the sound that is so buzzy right now, it was a definite loss for country. He’s shown that before, with a great cover of Linda Ortega and Miranda Lambert, and now he does it again covering Kacey Musgraves‘ “Merry ‘Go Round.” Continue reading »

Apr 162015
 

A couple nights ago, the Mountain Goats played an intimate show at a NYC winery to to celebrate the release of their pro wrestling-themed album Beat the Champ (which is way better than that description might imply). They threw a couple covers into the mix, one of Ozzy Osbourne’s “Shot in the Dark,” which they released on a 7″ last year, and a new solo take on the Grateful Dead‘s “St. Stephen.” Continue reading »

Mar 172015
 

Mexico City sextet El Conjunto Nueva Ola is not your typical cumbia band. For one, they mix in new wave and disco in heavy doses; they must be the only cumbia band with a keytar player. For another, they dress up in lucha libre masks, the traditional headwear of Mexican wrestlers, and never let anyone see their faces. Continue reading »

Mar 112015
 

Like many people, I first discovered Soko through her 2007 debut EP Not Sokute – specifically, the amazing, insane track “I’ll Kill Her.” It sounded entirely unfiltered, an irrational revenge fantasy after a breakup delivered through a meek French accent. The delivery made the lyrics entirely believable – not that she was actually going to kill anyone, but that the narrator hurt so bad she was daydreaming about it. Continue reading »