Warren Zevon was one of the most underappreciated artists in his time, at least by the general public. Sure, “Werewolves of London” gets heavy rotation between “The Monster Mash” and “Ghostbusters” on radio stations in October, but the rest of his catalog goes mostly unnoticed.
In honor of Johnny Cash‘s new posthumous release, “Out Among The Stars,” French filmmakers La Blogothéque put together a beautifully shot tribute to the late artist. Featuring Brandon Flowers of the Killers, Dawes, Father John Misty, and Local Natives, this short film captures the unifying and completely human spirit of Cash’s songs in a desert landscape.
Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.
In 1975, Neil Young released Zuma, one of several albums he recorded in the ’70s which contained a single song that pretty much eclipsed the rest of the album. In Zuma’s case, it was “Cortez the Killer,” a three-chorder rumored to have been written to make it easier for Crazy Horse guitarist Frank Sampredo to play along on rhythm guitar. Young hadn’t played with Crazy Horse for several years, and during that time Sampredo had taken the place of founding guitarist Danny Whitten, who had died of a drug and alcohol overdose. Clocking in at over seven minutes, “Cortez” was originally even longer — it famously had to be faded out because tape ran out during the session. (Upon learning the song’s last verse didn’t get recorded, Young shrugged and said, “I never liked that verse anyway.”) Bands who have covered the song have been been tacking minutes onto it ever since.
When a band hasn’t released a studio album of new music in four years, and then puts out an album made up entirely of cover songs, you might expect their fans to get restless. For Counting Crows fans, though, Underwater Sunshine (Or What We Did On Our Summer Vacation) is no less sweet because the band didn’t write the songs. Lead singer Adam Duritz and the gang have been doing covers, in full or sneakily added as bridges in live shows, since their inception. And, as Duritz says in the liner notes, “I’ve never stopped being a fan” of other people’s music.
In the most recent edition of The Voice Project, an ongoing project employing covers from indie artists to raise money and awareness for the plight of women in Uganda and Central Africa, Cillie Barnes invited cameras into her home to record her singing an interpretation of the song “Million Dollar Bill” by fellow LA folkies Dawes. Barnes, the musical moniker of Vanessa Jeanne Long, teamed up with Joe Keefe on acoustic guitar for the cover, which mostly follows Taylor Goldsmith’s original composition, except for a few glaring changes.
Adam Duritz of the Counting Crows has long worn his influences on his sleeve, and the band often does live covers of their favorite artists. If you are an aspiring artist, head over to Indabamusic where you have until March 1st to submit your own Counting Crows cover for the chance at a signed Squier guitar, $600 to Guitar Center, and inclusion of your song on an EP. If you’re not into making music, you can head over and start listening to the submissions. Cover Me veteran Allison Crowe has already submitted a stunning version of “Raining in Baltimore.“