It has been uplifting hearing the response of many famous artists to the devastation Hurricane Harvey has wreaked upon Houston. Coldplay recently gave a one time performance dedicated to those affected by the hurricane, and Paul Simon and his wife Edie Brickell donated $1 million to Harvey relief efforts. Tying the two together is Simon’s ’80s classic “Graceland,” recorded at the BBC’s Live Lounge by Coldplay frontman Chris Martin.
As the entire country prepares for a seriously dramatic celestial event, you might be thinking about the ideal playlist for the moment. You could always turn to “Total Eclipse of the Heart”, “Black Hole Sun”, or “Ain’t No Sunshine.” Certainly worthy contenders, but for a rare occurrence, consider a few brand-new covers to add to your mood music.
The world lost a quintessentially American artist with the passing of Glen Campbell last week. Dolly Parton called Campbell “one of the greatest voices of all time”, and his incredible career certainly supports her praise. Hits that toed the line between country and pop included “Rhinestone Cowboy”, “Wichita Lineman”, “Gentle on My Mind”, and “Southern Nights.”
Many of those hits were covers, including his most well-known, “Rhinestone Cowboy.” Originally recorded by Larry Weiss, the song made little impact initially, but became an instant hit in the States once Campbell took it up a year later. Campbell’s charming, heartfelt vocals combined with soaring instrumentals perfectly encapsulated the theme:
Director Edgar Wright’s seat-of-your-pants heist film Baby Driver features a carefully chosen group of songs that are set in perfect time to the action on the screen. City sounds and the movements of the actors and actresses work in time with the music with ease. It’s not often that a soundtrack precedes a movie, but in Baby Driver, it even inspired it.
One of the soundtrack’s standouts is Sky Ferreira’s cover of The Commodore’s “Easy”. Ferreira’s blend of drums, guitar, organ, and vibraphone feels just right reinterpreting the cool, seemingly untouchable vibe of the original.
It’s sad that the incredible talent given to many musicians is burdened by demons such as addiction, anxiety, and depression. It’s sad that so much of the music that they give us is inspired by struggles that fuel those demons and can feel so unsurmountable. It’s sad to think of all of the people those musicians have helped with their music, only to succumb to the darkness themselves in the end.
We have lost another great musician with the passing of Chester Bennington. Bennington’s band Linkin Park realized the climax of the so-called nu-metal movement with their album Hybrid Theory, which successfully brought to the mainstream a combination of metal and pop (hence the “Hybrid”). The style that Linkin Park created resulted in accolades for the band and their albums as they continued to explore combining musical styles. Ultimately, though, it was the intensity, emotional depth, and point blank honesty in Bennington’s lyrics and delivery which resonated with so many.
A particularly gorgeous rendition of one of Linkin Park’s songs is Scott D. Davis‘s piano take on “In the End”. The melody is highly effective even without the support of a band.
On their debut album, the three ladies of Applewood Road have perfected the art of the blend. Their intricate and layered harmonies drill into the quality of every note while simultaneously sounding effortless and breezy.
If you haven’t heard of these extraordinary musicians yet, you will soon. We’ve written about all three in their various solo endeavors in the past: Amy Speace, Emily Barker, and Amber Rubarth. Popular already in the UK, they are poised to take over the US with the upcoming release of their self titled album. In addition to their fantastic originals, the album includes a cover of R.E.M.‘s “Losing My Religion”.