Sep 232016
 

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.

alexvissia

From the prairie town of Stony Plain, just outside of Edmonton, Alex Vissia found stardom in Canada performing with her two younger sisters, in venues up to and including the Olympics. After graduating from college, she turned solo; since then, she’s released two records and is working on her third, writing songs described as “grown from folksy prairie roots, distilled until clear, and carefully Rock-filtered to let just the right amount of dirt back in.”
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Feb 012016
 
TheDiamondFamilyArchivebw

It’s been a while since we heard from Laurence Collyer aka The Diamond Family Archive, but his covers album The Wanderer is one of the best of the past decade. He’ll take songs by The Eagles, Billy Joel, and Dire Straits (a lot of Dire Straits) and warp these pop hits into fractured, fragile ballads. The results are mesmerizing every time, and that’s still true on his new covers EP, the November installment in a monthly EP series. Continue reading »

Mar 132015
 

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!

When you consider their longevity, the sheer number and variety of their live performances, and influences as diverse as bluegrass, country, soul, rock, psychedelia, blues, and jazz, it is likely that the Grateful Dead may have recorded and/or performed more covers than any other band that is best known for its original songs. (There’s probably a wedding band out there that has a bigger songbook, but that’s not really the point.) Grateful Dead fans have been trading and cataloging their favorite band’s performances since long before the idea of digital music and the Internet even existed, and now there are numerous databases available online — one of which shows 343 separate covers performed by the band (and solo projects and offshoots), including soundchecks and performances with guests.

Therefore, it is somewhat surprising that Cover Me has never turned its lovelight directly on the Grateful Dead. We have written numerous times about covers of Dead songs, but a quick review of the archives indicates that only three covers by the band have been featured—Bob Dylan’s “Desolation Row” and Merle Haggard’s “Okie From Muskogee” and “Mama Tried.” So, that leaves us a mere 340 to choose from today. To make this project (inspired in part by Phil Lesh’s 75th birthday this Sunday and by the recent announcement of the band’s 50th anniversary shows in Chicago this summer) somewhat less insane, we will limit ourselves only to recordings or performances by the Grateful Dead, proper — no solo projects or anything from after the death of Jerry Garcia.
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Aug 212013
 

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!

Next month, the Primitives will release the 25th anniversary edition of Lovely, their debut album; it’s a quarter century old, but its sound is deathless. While the band may be best known for Lovely‘s leadoff track “Crash,” their sound combined Blondie and the Jesus and Mary Chain in a way that resounded with fans far longer and deeper than one song could ever account for. As for the Primitives themselves, they disbanded in the early ’90s, but twenty years later got back together to release Echoes & Rhythms, a cover album that pulls off the rare trick of showing them to be just as vibrant and relevant as they ever were.
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Nov 172011
 

They Say It’s Your Birthday celebrates an artist’s special day with other people singing his or her songs. Let others do the work for a while. Happy birthday!

A happy 73rd birthday to Gordon Lightfoot, Canadian troubadour extraordinaire. From the age of five, when he made his performing debut in Sunday School with “I’m a Little Teapot,” he has spent his lifetime bringing music to the world, and the world has responded in kind with covers by the hundreds, from Elvis Presley on down. His songs are not generally happy songs  – “Talk about your party tunes!” Dave Barry once commented about “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” – but they speak well to the human condition with a truly universal voice, and they led none other than Bob Dylan to say, “Gordon Lightfoot, every time I hear a song of his, it’s like I wish it would last forever.” Continue reading »

Jul 072011
 

Stateside readers probably spent this past weekend lighting fireworks and chomping barbeque for Independence Day, but, as you probably know, our friends up north had a different holiday: Canada Day! To celebrate, one Nova Scotia blog curated a free new tribute album to Gordon Lightfoot, one of the country’s national treasures. Continue reading »