Sep 212020
 
laura heaberlin

“The Book of Love” is the Magnetic Fields’ most-covered song, and it’s not even close. Covers database SecondHandSongs reports 27 officially-released versions, and that’s not counting the hundreds or thousands that have been played live at weddings. (The second most-covered Magnetic Fields song in their database has only five covers listed). The most prominent “Book of Love” cover is probably Peter Gabriel’s 2004 orchestral version, which now has inspired its own cover – a cover of a cover.

Laura Heaberlin is one-half of Vermont folk duo Cricket Blue. On her “Book of Love,” though, she drops the acoustic guitar in favor of cello. A lot of cello. She reimagines Gabriel’s cover if that orchestra he used was all cellos, layering seven different cello parts atop each other. That maybe sounds like a gimmick, but it works beautifully.

“I was supposed to play this song at my friends’ wedding this summer,” Heaberlin says (see what I meant about this song and weddings?). “With the pandemic, that wasn’t able to happen, but I wanted to make something festive for Ben and Meghan for their would-have-been wedding day. I took the opportunity to arrange the song differently from how I could have played it in person. It was fun to get reacquainted with my cello, which I haven’t played much in years! And it was also fun to spend so much time with this song, which somehow is incredibly earnest and also doesn’t take itself too seriously at the same time. I hope to carry some of that unusual combination into my own future songwriting.”

Watch the video exclusively below, and check out more of Laura’s work with Cricket Blue here.

Top photo by Monika Rivard.

Jul 182019
 
samantha sidley

Los Angeles jazz singer Samantha Sidley titled the first single from her upcoming record “I Like Girls,” but on the song we’re premiering today, she covers some Boys. And she digs deep for this Beach Boys tribute, eschewing the oft-covered classics for a true deep cut: “Busy Doin’ Nothing,” from 1968’s Friends, a relatively obscure album without any big hits but with a few passionate defenders. One is Sidley herself. Continue reading »

Jun 212019
 
Prima Donna cover

More than 35 years after its original release, Bananarama’s “Cruel Summer” is having a renaissance as of late. In 2018, Hailey Tuck’s rendition of the song earned a spot on our list of top cover songs for the year. This spring, Kari Kimmel recorded a version for the trailer and final episode of Cobra Kai season two (a Karate Kid reboot). Today, the first day of summer, Prima Donna is releasing a guitar-powered rock cover as its new single. Continue reading »

Mar 222019
 
bhi bhiman covers

Like any great songwriter, Warren Zevon wrote songs whose words resonate well beyond their release date. Los Angeles singer-songwriter Bhi Bhiman picked up on one such connection in Zevon’s classic “Lawyers, Guns, & Money,” find overtones of the various Trump family investigations, from the NRA-boosting Russian spy to Donald Trump, Jr. Bhiman writes of his new cover: Continue reading »

Feb 272019
 
unwoman david bowie

For a cellist who frequently covers new wave, goth, and art-rock songs, David Bowie’s “Heroes” would seem one of the more obvious song selections. But San Francisco’s Erica Mulkey, who performs as Unwoman and appears regularly at sci-fi and steampunk conventions, says she resisted “Heroes” for years. Though one of her favorite songs, it seemed too obvious, and too often covered. Hard to find a fresh way to do it, especially after his passing. But backers on her Patreon pushed her to do it, and she ended up happy they did. Continue reading »

Oct 182018
 

It will come as no surprise to anyone who’s ever heard a blues song that the narrator of “Baby, Scratch My Back” isn’t really talking about itchy shoulder blades. And if the metaphor is still too subtle, Whitehorse’s slinky, sultry new cover will get the message across.

The Canadian husband-and-wife duo of Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland are preparing to release The Northern South Vol. 2, their latest blues-covers LP, in January (we spoke to them about their own favorite cover songs last month). Their cover of “Baby, Scratch My Back” is a highlight, slower and groovier than some of the more upbeat jams. McClelland’s trademark telephone-mic brings an era-appropriate distortion as Doucet’s fiery guitar leads channel vintage Chess Records. They use pots for percussion, which sounds like something an old bluesman might do, and blow some melodica, which doesn’t. Continue reading »