Country supergroup The Highwomen are wielding some killer harmonies and fierce lyrics as they tour in support of their upcoming self titled album due out September 6th. For the soundtrack for the movie The Kitchen, a high stakes drama about an all female gangster organization, the quartet performed a powerful rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain”. They’ve since covered it a couple times live: at a recent visit to Howard Stern’s SiriusXM show and again sitting in a circle backstage at Jimmy Fallon’s show a few days ago – with Fallon himself. Both live versions also feature an uncredited Jason Isbell on guitar.
Since January, Kanye West has been exploring the spiritual side of popular songs at invite-only concerts on the West Coast he’s dubbed “Sunday Service.”
The concept is elaborately simple: take a song that everyone knows, fly in an entire choir (known as The Samples) to a new location each week, and have the choir perform the song with new lyrics and a decidedly gospel feel. Bands such as Nirvana and No Doubt as well as artists Sia, Tracy Chapman, and Chance the Rapper among many others have all had their songs gospelized by West and his amazing choir. “Don’t Speak” becomes “Lord Speaks,” “Fast Car” becomes “Great God,” etc. West has gospelized a few of his own songs, and the entire project is rumored to be a preview of West’s upcoming album Yandhi (release date still unknown).
Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Minds” has had an impressive roster of covers over the years. Artists as varied as No Doubt, Dwight Yoakman, Martina Mcbride, Pete Yorn, and even U2 have added the song to their albums and live shows. The most popular approach to the song seems to be a country, rockabilly vibe that closely mirrors Presley’s toe-tapping original.
Vampire Weekend is having one heck of a memorable tour in support of their May album release Father of the Bride. In a recent Spotify Singles session, they performed a Bruce Hornsby-esque stripped down version of “This Life” from the new album, and a song they have been covering for almost a decade by another Bruce: Springsteen’s “I’m Goin Down”.
Emily Mure has a simple, pure quality to her music which translates well to the songs she has released so far for her upcoming six-track covers EP.
First to hit the headphones is her cover of The Shins’ “Gone for Good”. It’s a not too saccharine, perfectly melancholy rendition, with simple guitars and breathy harmonies on the chorus. Mure’s distinctive voice gives the cover its own life, despite the overall feel of the song being similar to the Shins original.
Vampire Weekend is currently on tour in support of their new album Father of the Bride. During a recent concert in Indianapolis, the band took a surprise turn in the middle of their song “M79,” playing the theme from Parks and Recreation. The vibe of the theme song is completely in harmony with that of Vampire Weekend so the transition was seamless, and the crowd loved the reference to the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana.