We already counted down the 50 Best Cover Songs of 2018 but, inevitably, many of our staff’s personal favorites get left off. So, before we begin scouting for what might become the best cover of 2019, we share the best of the rest, an unranked hodgepodge of worthy covers that only just missed our year-end countdown.
In Memoriam pays tribute to those who have left this world, and the songs they left us to remember them by. Full Albums features covers of every track off a classic album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!
This is a hybrid piece, melding together two Cover Me staples, “In Memoriam” and “Full Albums,” prompted by today’s anniversary of the plane crash that killed Lynyrd Skynyrd members Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, and his sister Cassie Gaines. We’re remembering them by giving the Full Album treatment to the band’s debut album, (Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd). While neither of the Gaines siblings appeared on it, they certainly played its classic songs in concert, and probably even some of the lesser-known ones. So this piece may lack a certain consistency, but if a band can tour as Lynyrd Skynyrd with only one original member, then we can still do this.
Back in 2010, Cover Me posted a Live Collection of the Drive-By Truckers, the Athens, GA band led by Patterson Hood. It featured “every DBT concert cover we could get our hands on,” adding that “Hood’s vast solo repertoire will wait for a later date.” That’s an undertaking for another day, but today we can at least scratch the surface and share a few of Hood’s covers.
In the Spotlight showcases a cross-section of an artist’s cover work. View past installments, then post suggestions for future picks in the comments!
Warren is a profoundly mysterious man, and I have learned not to argue with him, about hockey or anything else. —Hunter S. Thompson
The fact that Hunter S. Thompson was a friend of Warren Zevon’s really shouldn’t surprise anybody: his crazy songs of headless mercenaries and KGB waitresses sound like Fear and Loathing on vinyl. Starting out as a songwriter for groups such as the Turtles in the ’60s (he said that the B-side he wrote for “Happy Together” paid his rent for years), Zevon struggled with his own songwriting identity until releasing his Jackson Browne-produced eponymous album in 1976, and its follow-up, 1978’s Excitable Boy. Although never really recapturing the fire that those two albums kindled for him, he went on to have sporadic success between long bouts of drug and alcohol addiction, and became known for his rambunctious live shows attended by equally rambunctious fans.
Live Collection brings together every live cover we can find from a featured artist.
From Athens, Georgia, the Drive-By Truckers are the most Lynyrd Skynyrd-esq band around today. They don’t deny it. Heck, they even based an entire album on Skynyrd’s career trajectory (as metaphor for Southern decline). Patterson Hood leads the six-piece around the country playing seemingly more concerts than there are days in the year. With all that touring, they’ve had quite a bit of time to bust out a cover or two.
Our first Live Collection feature collects every DBT concert cover we could get our hands on (Hood’s vast solo repertoire will wait for a later date). Some are set regulars, others are one-time-only treats. Download each MP3 individually below or all together at the bottom, then report back. Did I miss any? Post a note in comments! If you include a link, I’ll add the song to the main post.
The amazing thing about this album is that it didn’t come sooner. An indie-Americana tribute to country/folk songwriter John Prine seems so inevitable. He may never have become a household name, but anyone who ever recorded a song with steel guitar or mandolin knows Prine. With bands like My Morning Jacket and the Avett Brothers spearheading an alt-country revival, Prine’s slyly sarcastic songs about love and life are due a second showing.
The artists who appear on Broken Hearts and Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine comprise a who’s-who of young folk/Americana bands, but these obvious admirers choose some very non-obvious tracks. The usual-suspect songs are largely missing in action. No “Paradise,” no “Sam Stone,” no “Illegal Smile.” The only no-duh selection is “Angel from Montgomery,” one of four songs from Prine’s self-titled debut. The rest span the gamut, dusting off tunes from the ‘80s and ‘90s alongside the canonical ‘70s material.