May 242013

Full Albums features covers of every track off a classic album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!

Every day, more music is released. Most of it will be quickly forgotten, some of it will resonate with an audience, and a very, very small percentage will be listened to for years to come. An even smaller subset can fairly be said to embody a particular moment in time. Surrealistic Pillow, the second release by the Jefferson Airplane, is one of those special albums. Released in early 1967 by a group of hippies who also happened to be extraordinary songwriters and musicians, it is both a classic and a reflection of its era.
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Jul 212011

Otis Redding is heartbreak’s greatest translator. The tragically short-lived soul singer knew how to sing a love song for the forlorn better than most, and his melismatic vocal abilities brought listeners to their knees as he crooned for the woman who left him behind. Now two ladies are picking up where Otis left off and pouring their own booming voices on top of Redding’s classic, “Pain in My Heart,” like syrup on pancakes. Grace Potter and Sharon Jones exist on opposite ends of the soul spectrum. The former represents nouveau blue-eyed soul and the latter is the closest thing today’s listeners have to the original Stax sound. Continue reading »

Apr 252011

The latest Billboard Mashup Mondays cover more than makes up for last week’s Dom travesty. It’s longtime Cover Me favorite Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, adding another tune to the already 40+ we’ve seen them cover before. She chose Beyoncé’s “Why Don’t You Love Me,” using her huge voice to as powerful an effect as always.

Beyoncé “has such a mastery over her career and her music. She’s just an inspiration,” Potter told Billboard. While you wouldn’t know it from Potter’s own songs, the translation of the soul-pop banger to acoustic guitars and hand claps is surprisingly smooth. Check it out below. Continue reading »

Dec 062010

Last night VH1 Divas Salute the Troops aired on – you guessed it – VH1. It featured an endless stream of female pop stars, including Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, Sugarland, and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. Whether any of these women are really divas is questionable (Perry, maybe), but it’s hard to focus on semantics amidst this much glitter. Perry parachuted in, Minaj wore a vampire-clown-meets-Alice-from-Dilbert wig, and everyone changed costumes about every thirty seconds.

Mostly the stars pimped their current singles (though sadly no “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”-relevant “I Kissed a Girl”), but a few covers worked their way in. Props to Perry, Keri Hilson, and Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland for turning the Andrews Sisters’ “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” into a full USO-worthy production. Less props to Perry and Minaj for covering “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” Hey ladies, I’m pretty sure the focus is supposed to be the soldiers, not yourselves. Still, with Katy Perry, one out of two songs not being entirely self-serving is better than normal. Continue reading »

Nov 012010

A couple hours ago we heard Phish metaphorically dress up as Little Feat for a full covers set. Well now we have another Halloween treat: Grace Potter, who actually dressed up as Dolly Parton for “Jolene.” As you can see in the image above, the entire band went old-school country. From left, that’s Billy Ray Cyrus, Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson, and Waylon Jennings.

Potter’s “Jolene” is significantly more tempered than the White Stripes’ version, but then again, what isn’t? As we saw in our Live Collection a while back though, this quintet can take on just about anything. Watch/download “Jolene” below, then head here to snag dozens more GP&N covers. Continue reading »

Sep 032010

Live Collection brings together every live cover we can find from an artist. And we find a lot.

You think Vermont music, you might think flanneled hippies strumming mandolins. Not Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. They may come from the great wooded north, but their big soul sound comes straight from Dixie with a side of south-side Chicago. Potter is a vocal tour de force, a skinny white girl with an enormous voice. She can do a two-hour show without fading a bit and her hot four-piece band keeps right in step. Searing guitar solos abound, but nothing can upstage that voice.

Through years of near-constant touring, the band has amassed quite a stack of covers. In our latest Live Collection, we collect every concert cover we could find (thanks!). That includes blasts through Blondie, My Morning Jacket, and a whole lot of Neil Young – including a 14-minute “Cortez the Killer” that should be required listening for any rock band. Josh Ritter joins the band on John Prine’s “Pretty Good,” but otherwise they don’t need any help in blowing the roof off any building they play.

As a special bonus, below the main set we have the thematic new covers from their 2009 New Year’s Eve show. The band had clearly been spinning the Top Gun soundtrack a lot; they cover seven songs from the darn thing! And not just the original soundtrack either. The band apparently took to the 1999 Special Edition CD, cause they run through three of the four old-school bonus tracks as well. In between ’80s classics like “Take My Breath Away” and “Danger Zone,” the band throws out Top Gun lines as a wink to clued-in audience members. “This is Ghost Rider requesting permission for a flyby!” Permission granted. Continue reading »