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.

Sep 132016
 
donny-mccaslin

Many musicians have covered David Bowie this year, but few are more qualified to do so than saxophonist Donny McCaslin. His avant-garde jazz band backed Bowie on Blackstar, and they were getting rave reviews even before anyone knew it would be Bowie’s last album. Now, McCaslin and his band have paid tribute to their late mentor by covering two of his earlier tracks on their new album Beyond Now.

They first started playing Bowie’s Low instrumental “Warszawa” in their live shows shortly after his passing. “Warszawa” would be a very surprising song choice for most bands, but it is right in these guys’ wheelhouse. They also cover Bowie’s 1995 Outside cut “A Small Plot of Land,” bringing in singer Jeff Taylor on vocals. Continue reading »

Sep 072016
 
DollyPartondark

Earlier this summer, we got an email from a band we’d never heard of: 48 Cameras. They sent very little information, just short clips of some cover songs on Facebook. But those clips were amazing. We’ve been bugging us ever since for full versions, and they’ve finally obliged with an upcoming covers album, Songs Our Mothers Taught Us. It’s easily one of the strangest and most fascinating covers album of the year, Tom Waits meets Serge Gainsbourg meets Twin Peaks. They cover a whole bunch of classic songs on the album – “My Funny Valentine,” “By the Time We Get to Phoenix,” “Famous Blue Raincoat” – but none sounds like any version we’ve ever heard.

Despite having worked together for thirty years, the band members have never met. They live all over Europe and work remotely, with different people in the ever-changing lineup contributing to different tracks. “Our music could be a music written in a foreign language which we would not totally like to master,” says frontman (for lack of a better term) Jean M. Mathoul. Continue reading »

Sep 062016
 
eurythmics

Eurythmics haven’t released an album or toured since 1999, but for whatever reason this summer has seen a surge of covers. And not even just more versions of “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This),” but other singles and deeper cuts. It’s probably just coincidence (unless Dave Stewart releasing his memoir earlier this year was a catalyst), but whatever the reason, we’re always happy to get new interpretations of their catchy-but-slightly-odd dance classics.

First up was Iron And Wine’s Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop. Earlier this year, they teamed up for a duets album Love Letter For Fire, and this summer they added an outtake: a cover of “Love Is a Stranger.” If you know even the tiniest thing about Beam or Hoop, it will not surprise you one iota to learn they take the pop song in a radically different direction. Their voices blend beautifully on the delicate acoustic cover. Continue reading »

Aug 312016
 
my_morning_jacket___18861-_photo_by_danny_clinch__20hirez-1175x783

Since Prince died, My Morning Jacket has worked a number of his songs into regular setlist rotation: “Raspberry Beret,” “Sign ‘O’ The Times,” “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man,” “Take Me With U,” and “Purple Rain.” But they have only covered David Bowie once, a “Young Americans” hometown encore in May. This weekend though, they made up for lost time with a knockout new cover of “Rebel Rebel” at Virginia’s Lockn’ festival. Watch it below.

They also debuted another new cover, of the Burt Bacharach and Hal David classic “What the World Needs Now.” It’s a song that can sound trite and cheesy in the wrong hands, but Jim James and co. brought the beauty back to it, complete with some fantastic guitar work by James. Watch that below too, as well as the other two covers they played: Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved” (for only the second time ever) and, yes, “Purple Rain.” Continue reading »

Aug 302016
 
jhachadezola-picaroobscuro_1

We get a lot of Ariana Grande covers submitted to us, and they tend to follow a formula: a young woman showcases her best arena-filling belt on YouTube. Like Mariah Carey before her, Ariana Grande songs offer an occasion to show off one’s vocal chops. Some of the belting is pretty good, but big, powerful singing doesn’t make an Ariana Grande cover any different than an Ariana Grande original. But now, finally, we have a musician taking a very different approach.

J Hacha De Zola hails from the town of Rahway, New Jersey and exhibits the state’s blue-collar work ethic: he’s already released two albums this year! And if that wasn’t enough output, he’s now got a bonus cut, his wild new cover of Grande’s “Bad Decisions.” It’s a wonderfully ramshackle production, a huge, swaying barroom roll somewhere between Tom Waits and the Pogues (longtime Waits saxman Ralph Carney in fact plays on his latest album, Picaro Obscuro). If you know Grande’s original, this cover is barely recognizable – and if you don’t the recording stands on its own. Continue reading »

Aug 302016
 

A few months back, Nashville’s iconic Ryman Auditorium hosted two star-studded tribute concerts to Bob Dylan to celebrate his 75th birthday. Kesha performing “I Shall Be Released” was the big news-maker as her first high-profile performance during her ongoing legal battle, but many other members of country and Americana royalty also took the stage for an amazing couple nights. The full thing was webcast, but it hasn’t been archived anywhere, so if you missed that you were stuck with grainy YouTube videos – until now. We’ve got every song to stream below (except Kesha, which wasn’t webcast, presumably for legal reasons). For the first time since that night, you can hear pristine recordings of Jason Isbell, Kacey Musgraves, Kurt Vile, Emmylou Harris, Butch Walker, Wynonna Judd, Boz Scaggs, Langhorne Slim, John Paul Williams of the Civil Wars, Ann Wilson of Heart, and more covering their favorite Dylan songs, many for the first time ever. Continue reading »