Curtis Zimmermann

Curtis Zimmermann works as an advertising sales executive for an academic publisher in Philadelphia. He’s been a music critic, news reporter, financial fraud investigator and spent many years in corporate sales, all the while maintaining a healthy obsession with music history. He first became intrigued with genre-bending covers in college when he stumbled across a used copy of Ray Charles’ box set “The Complete Country & Western Recordings 1959 - 1986.”

Feb 052019
 
chuck deardorf blind faith cover

When jazz bassist and educator Chuck Deardorf was a young trombonist, he often found himself listening to the bass. “They get to play the whole time, and I thought, ‘wow they sound like they’re having a lot more fun than I am’,” he said explaining his instrument of choice in an interview on the arts website Centrum. “The bass just shapes the music so much. You have a lot of responsibility and freedom to really determine where the music goes.” Deardorf made this childhood vision a reality on his new cover of Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home,” where he uses his bass to reinterpret the song’s vocal melody.

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Feb 042019
 
rayland baxter covers

In his recent memoir, Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy philosophized on how online streaming has changed the way artists get their inspiration. “Anyone can access any era of music at any time,” Tweedy wrote. “So instead of being influenced only by the recordings and generations of musicians most accessible and obtainable to study, musicians today can draw upon almost anything ever recorded.”

These sentiments rang especially true when I first heard Rayland Baxter’s 2018 album Wide Awake. Listening to the record is like taking a trip through Baxter’s musical education. One can detect elements of alt-country rock, blue-eyed soul, new wave, the solo works of various Beatles, all sung with the confidence of a ‘70s singer/songwriter at the Troubadour. Hearing all these musical styles smash together, it makes sense that he was able to cross four decades with two covers. During a recent performance at Paste Studios, he played songs by Neil Young and the late Mac Miller. He took two serious tunes from very different artists and reworked them in his own way to make them seem lighter and definitely more fun.

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Nov 192018
 
wil gold digger

Kanye West’s 2005 hit “Gold Digger” has origins that pass right through the heart of 20th century popular music. The story begins in 1954, when a black gospel group called The Southern Tones recorded a song called “It Must Be Jesus.” Its lyrics served as a warning to all sinners that Jesus is “Goin’ around” and “Takin’ names.” The song might have been lost to history, had it not been for a young R&B singer named Ray Charles who reworked it as “I Got A Woman.” The song would become one of Charles’ signature tracks and serve as an inspiration to Elvis and the Beatles, who both covered it.

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Nov 052018
 
david crosby woodstock solo

In 1969, on the advice of her manager, the folk singer Joni Mitchell opted out of playing an event dubbed “An Aquarian Exposition” in the tiny farm community of Bethel, N.Y. Had she performed, it’s possible she would have played a rain-drenched set filled with technical difficulties and tried to forget the whole thing. Instead, while watching the events unfold on TV, she was inspired to write a song that would bear the festival’s more popular name: “Woodstock.” Continue reading »

Nov 052018
 
curtis roush no ordinary love

Curtis Roush, the singer/guitarist for the Austin-based band The Bright Light Social Hour, cites a laundry list of musical influences on his website. They include: ‘70s album rock, heavy metal, classic rock and hardcore. Yet, when we asked him about the inspiration for his recent solo cover of Sade’s “No Ordinary Love,” he named the British Nigerian singer as a favorite. “Her singing, songwriting, and surrounding production have been a huge influence on my solo music,” he told Cover Me. “‘No Ordinary Love’ is mysterious and soothing, but also has this very deep, almost heavy quality to it. I strive for a similar balance in my own music.” Continue reading »

Oct 312018
 
ace frehley i wanna go back

No offense to replacement guitarists Vinnie Vincent, Mark St. John, Bruce Kulick or Tommy Thayer, but certain legions of the Kiss Army believe the band lost all its creative mojo when Ace Frehley left the group in 1982 (and again in 2002). Take the Kiss tribute act Ace’s High. Its members all dress like Frehley (with costumes from different eras) and only play songs that Ace either wrote or sang on. In a documentary, one band member who models himself after Destroyer-era Ace explains the devotion. “We all just wanted to be Ace, because he was the best, the most talented and our favorite member.” Continue reading »