May 202019
 
js ondara bob dylan

There is a strong early Bob Dylan vibe blowin’ in the wind of J.S. Ondara’s debut album Tales of America released earlier this year. The record, a sublime set of stark sometimes melancholy tunes that perfectly frames the boyish vocals and nuanced delivery inherent in Ondara’s voice has earned him a nomination for emerging artist of the year to be presented by the Americana Music Association later in the year.

Growing up in Nairobi, Kenya listening mostly to rock music, Ondara apparently always thought that “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” was a Gun’s ‘N’ Roses song. After he lost a bet to a friend who told him that the song’s true origins, folk music became his passion. And so began his travels down the Dylan rabbit hole that eventually lead him to Minneapolis, in Dylan’s home state, to pursue his career. Continue reading »

May 202019
 
xenia rubinos cover

For the new documentary I’m Leaving Now (Ya Me Voy), about an undocumented worker in Brooklyn, singer-songwriter Xenia Rubinos covered The Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go.” It features all the energy and passion of the original, with a twist: with the personal approval of The Clash’s Mick Jones, she translated the lyrics entirely into Spanish. Continue reading »

May 172019
 

Under the Radar shines a light on lesser-known cover artists. If you’re not listening to these folks, you should. Catch up on past installments here.

The Dollyrots

Power couple Kelly Ogden and Luis Cabezas formed the Dollyrots, a pop punk band, in 2000. The oft-quoted origin story sets the scene for their musical style:

“We were watching the 2000 presidential election results, and at four o’clock in the morning, when we found out that George W. Bush had won, Luis and I were like, ‘The world’s probably gonna end anyway, and I don’t want to go to med school,’ so we thought, ‘Let’s just do the band.'”

Honestly, who hasn’t felt the same urge recently?

If you are “fashionably socialized” you may have at least heard of The Dollyrots’ biggest hit, “Because I’m Awesome,” in one of the variety of television shows, movies, and commercials that featured it. Along with releasing original music consistently over the years, The Dollyrots have covered a wide range of songs that span genres and decades of origin. Here is just taste of what they have to offer cover-wise.

Continue reading »

May 162019
 

Patti Smith made cover-song headlines a couple years ago stepping in for an unwilling Bob Dylan to perform “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall” at his Nobel Prize ceremony. More recently, she’s quietly slipped another old protest song into her setlist: Midnight Oil’s 1987 hit “Beds Are Burning.” Continue reading »

May 152019
 

Welcome to Cover Me Q&A, where we take your questions about cover songs and answer them to the best of our ability.

Here at Cover Me Q&A, we’ll be taking questions about cover songs and giving as many different answers as we can. This will give us a chance to hold forth on covers we might not otherwise get to talk about, to give Cover Me readers a chance to learn more about individual staffers’ tastes and writing styles, and to provide an opportunity for some back-and-forth, as we’ll be taking requests (learn how to do so at feature’s end).

Today’s question: What’s your favorite example of an artist “covering” their own song?
Continue reading »

May 142019
 
mark kozelek huey lewis

Mark Kozelek is no stranger to finding the gourmet meal in what others might consider fast food. A prolific songwriter whose own tunes have gotten progressively less melodic and lyrics have gotten more and more literal, Kozelek has not lost his touch in turning rock songs into acoustic vignettes. Here, he takes the Huey Lewis and the News 1985 pop rock song “The Power of Love” and, with the help of singer/violinist Petra Haden, he finds the beauty at its core. Continue reading »