Mar 312015
 

I had high hopes for Robert Earl Keen’s new album, Happy Prisoner: The Bluegrass Sessions. My first exposure to REK was 1989’s West Textures, still for me his best work, partly because the acoustic band accompanying him on that is a bluegrass band, even if the songs aren’t. Keen’s style, for me, has never quite suited electricity. Combine this with my love of bluegrass, and surely this would be a no-brainer?

Well, I liked it, but if I’m honest, I only liked it some. Positives first: Keen has the ideal woebegone plaintiveness for this sort of material (think Droopy with a recording contract), as he plumbs death, prison and heartbreak in turn. (Have you ever heard a truly happy bluegrass song?) The band, including Danny Barnes of Bad Livers repute on banjo, underpin his singing with zest and vim, and a plethora of guests add to an agreeable mix. Of these, special mention to erstwhile Dixie Chick Natalie Maines (daughter of Lloyd Maines, the album’s producer), bringing more sprightliness to the oft-covered “Lonesome Stranger” than can be found on some of the album’s other numbers.
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Apr 142014
 
Dixie Chicks

Get ready to feel the all of the feelings, because the ever-fabulous Dixie Chicks have covered Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball.” This stripped-down ode to heartbreak hits with even more intensity than the original. Natalie Maines’ vocals take no prisoners, and with the help of beautiful harmonies and a stunning violin bridge, it’s safe to say this country-fried “Wrecking Ball” has my approval. Continue reading »

May 252011
 

Dylan Covers A-Z presents covers of every single Bob Dylan song. View the full series here.

Sure, Bob Dylan’s birthday may technically be over, but Bob Dylan’s birthweek is still going strong. So we continue our five-part series showcasing covers of every Dylan song today with the biggest installment yet. A full 60 covers await on the following pages, with heavyweights like the Isley Brothers and the Clash and newcomers like Adele and the Morning Benders. The latest chunk spans the letters K (Guns n’ Roses’ “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”) through O (Crooked Still’s “Oxford Town”) and features some of Bob’s best known songs. “Mr. Tambourine Man.” “Like a Rolling Stone.” “Masters of War.” “Lay, Lady, Lay.” The list goes on.

Click the page numbers down below to start listening. If you’re just joining us, here’s where we are so far:

Part 1: “Absolutely Sweet Marie” – “Everything Is Broken”
Part 2: “Father of Night” – “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues”
Part 3: “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” – “Oxford Town”
Part 4: “Peggy Day” – “Sweetheart Like You” [Coming Thursday]
Part 5: “T.V Talkin’ Song” – “4th Time Around” [Coming Friday]

Continued on Page 2…

Mar 092011
 

Every Wednesday, our resident Gleek Eric Garneau gives his take on last night’s Glee covers.


Gwyneth Paltrow and Uncle Jesse make their return and the Purple One has his musical debut on last night’s episode of Glee, tantalizingly titled “Sexy.” After Brittany has a pregnancy scare brought on by seeing a stork build a nest outside her window, Will realizes the kids in his glee club need some serious sexual education, to be delivered by everyone’s favorite substitute teacher, Holly Holiday (Paltrow). Of course anything that gets the kids talking about sex surely leads to drama, trysts, hilarity and awkwardness. What would Glee be without them? Continue reading »

Oct 062010
 

Download This scours the web’s dark corners for cool cover freebies. View past installments.

This past Friday, Brooklyn’s Mobius Band announced that after over a decade of recording and touring, the group was splitting up. For cover lovers, this is terrible news. On Valentine’s Days ’08 and ’09 the band released two free love-song cover EPs on their website. Though they skipped this year (perhaps because things were already on the fritz), we were hoping a new offering would come on V-Day 2011. It seems that’s not to be.

So instead, we use the occasion to revisit their two prior EPs. The band irreverently squeezes artists old and new into their indie pop mold, treating love songs by Townes Van Zandt and Kanye West with equal care. The 2008 EP Love Will Reign Supreme transitions straight from Bob Dylan (“I’ll Keep It with Mine”) to Daft Punk (“Digital Love”). Empire of Love, released one year later, gives the Dixie Chicks’ “Lullaby” a haze-pop sheen and adds xylophone to TV on the Radio’s “Satellite.” Continue reading »