Singer-songwriter Laura Marling uses some of the same tools as Bob Dylan in her music: a knack for complex storytelling and acoustic guitar playing that rarely distracts from the vocals. But in her new cover of Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall,” featured on the show Peaky Blinders, the differences between the two artists become immediately clear.
Husband and wife team Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent, better known as Shovels & Rope, know their way around a good cover song. We’ve shared a handful of their covers here at the site over the years, including a couple of cuts from their 2015 collection of covers, Busted Jukebox, Volume 1. From that title, it’s almost as if they knew they’d be releasing more covers at some point. Well, surprise! This week sees the release of Busted Jukebox, Volume 2, following the same format of Volume 1: a wide-range of source material reimagined with the help of some musician friends.
It’s been a minute since Slothrust was last featured at Cover Me: three and a half years to be exact. But the bluesy trio is back on our radar with a new EP of cover songs, spearheaded (pun intended) by their excellent version of Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time”.
As we mentioned in our post on Slothrust’s version of Black Sabbath’s “Electric Funeral”, the influences and song stylings of the band run the gamut, and the tracklist of the forthcoming EP Show Me How You Want It To Be reflects that. From Sabbath to Spears, Marcy Playground to Al Green, there’s not much of a theme to the album. But if all the songs are as solid as “Baby One More Time”, the theme might just be “great covers”.
There’s something about Sade that’s hard to put your finger on. Her voice is beautiful, but always feels understated. Her music is soft, smooth R&B, but appeals to a population of listeners well outside the genre. With a career that has spanned over three decades, she’s made music that has influenced a wide range of artists. For proof, look no further than two recent covers by very different artists.
The first is by Rare Futures, a band started by Matthew Fazzi, the ex-guitarist of pop-punk group Taking Back Sunday. Rare Futures walk a line between rock and R&B in their cover of Sade’s 1992 hit “No Ordinary Love.” Their version is not revolutionary, but does add a little grit to the original. The song is heavy on bass and high hat and includes some callouts to the original: the hard stops following the heavy sighs and the spot-on harmonies are nice touches. The band throws in a heavier pre-chorus and nice dual guitar breakdown at the end, keeping the cover interesting.
As we covered a few weeks ago, the soundtrack for the Amazon original show The Man in the High Castle is chock full of big names covering classic songs. The album is out now, and one of the highlights is Beck covering Elvis’ “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” Like many of the songs mentioned previously, Beck didn’t get too adventurous on this number, opting to stick with what worked the first time.
Bill Frisell, a legend of jazz and guitar and the creator of one of our favorite cover albums of last year, sat down with Fretboard Journal to play a cover of Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”. But if you weren’t reading this on a website with a focus on cover songs, I think Bill’s almost unrecognizable version could have fooled you.