Dec 142012
 

Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.

June, 1965. An debut album called Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. had flopped, and the duo who performed it had broken up – one went to England to perform in coffeehouses; the other went back to Columbia University, where he majored in art history. But one of the tracks from their album, the side one closer, had started to get some airplay along the east coast, and it gave producer Tom Wilson an idea – with the Byrds’ “Mr. Tambourine Man” roaring up the charts, he thought he could overdub a rock track over the duo’s original folk song and see a similar success.

Boy, was he right. Continue reading »

Mar 292011
 

Oftentimes, the difference between a good cover and a great cover can be boiled down to a simple question: does the artist make the song their own? This writer figured out the difference at a young age thanks to Joe Cocker’s cover of “With a Little Help From My Friends” at the beginning of The Wonder Years every week. Good covers are simply covers; great covers are reimaginings.

This distinction is captured beautifully in Seven Swans Reimagined, and the title is a perfectly accurate one. This various-artists project from On Joyful Wings is not merely a tribute to the Sufjan Stevens album, but a complete redirection of all the beauty that Stevens imbued it with in the first place. The artists include a few Cover Me favorites like Wakey!Wakey! and Bonnie “Prince” Billy and some of Stevens’ labelmates from Asthmatic Kitty (Shannon Stephens, Half-Handed Cloud). Continue reading »