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.

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 »

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 »

Brandi Carlile releases her fifth album The Firewatcher’s Daughter this week, and after 11 original tracks, she closes with a cover of The Avett Brothers‘ “Murder in the City.” She first performed the track live last October on the day the Supreme Court temporarily blocked several states’ same-sex marriage bans. Carlile, who identifies as a lesbian and has a wife and young daughter, made several key lyric changes. Where the original’s final verse mentions sisters and mothers, Carlile sings: Continue reading »

One thing that diehard Dylanologists and he-can’t-sing haters can usually agree about Bob Dylan: his music videos are mostly lousy. From his terrible lip-syncing in “Jokerman” to Scarlett Johansson portraying an Instagram filter in “When the Deal Goes Down,” there’s not a lot to love. More recently, though, he’s been on a hot streak (or at least a reasonably warm one). “Must Be Santa” was goofy, bewigged fun, and he amps up the kitsch even more in his new video for Frank Sinatra cover “The Night We Called It A Day.” Continue reading »

A lot of songwriters call themselves “Americana,” but John Statz the geographical credentials to back it up. He’s from Wisconsin, lives in Colorado, recorded his new album in Vermont, and titled it Tulsa. On one track he looks across the pond though – to Britain’s Radiohead, whose “Motion Picture Soundtrack” he turns into a hushed country lament. Continue reading »

Full Albums features covers of every track off a classic album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!

Tusk‘s reputation as an infamous failure is pretty much cemented at this point. But it didn’t actually fail at all.
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Rhiannon Giddens of the Caroline Chocolate Drops just released a terrific mostly-covers album, but she’s already dropped another cover, this one a duet with Sam Beam of Iron & Wine. For the series finale of the NBC show Parenthood they took on Bob Dylan‘s “Forever Young” (a little on the nose perhaps?). They briefly appeared in the episode recording the track too. Continue reading »

This week, Jason Isbell and his wife Amanda Shires dropped a surprise two-song covers EP called Sea Songs. It features sparse takes on two natically-themed tracks, Warren Zevon‘s “Mutineer” and a more unexpected choice: Lykke Li‘s storming “I Follow Rivers.” They just hit the web, stream both below. Continue reading »

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