Dec 212012

Adele dominated the cover song landscape in 2011, but Two-Aught-Twelve saw no similar galvanizing figure. Yes Lana Del Rey got covered a lot, but Leonard Cohen and Arcade Fire also seemed to garner an unexpected landslide of great covers (and speaking of landslides, so did Fleetwood Mac). “Call Me Maybe” was a huge hit that didn’t lead to much in the way of classic covers, and few seem to have even bothered attempting the Korean raps on “Gangnam Style.”

Which means that cover songs in 2012 were more diverse, ambitious, and left-field than ever before. A given YouTube search or Hype Machine browse would be as likely to turn up forgotten hits or underappreciated songwriters as it would the latest Top 40 smash. Find a sampling of all the diversity in Cover Me’s official Best Cover Songs of 2012 countdown. Start with #40-31 on the next page, and check back daily as we’ll be adding more til we hit #1.

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.

The Bobs are an a cappella group that pride themselves on their originality – and when you’re writing songs with titles like “Mopping, Mopping, Mopping,” “Andy Always Dreamed of Wrestling,” and “Please Let Me Be Your Third World Country,” there’s clearly a lot of originality to be proud of. There’s just as much originality in their renditions of songs they didn’t write, and they’ve been entertaining audiences across the US and Europe with them for almost a third of a century with nothing but voices and self-percussion. Continue reading »

Earlier this year, folk singer-songwriter Sam Beam, better known by the stage name Iron and Wine, joined a bill of prominent country artists including Willie Nelson, Lucinda Williams, and Sheryl Crow for a tribute show in honor of Johnny Cash’s 80th birthday. The concert was released on CD/DVD last week as We Walk the Line: A Celebration of the Music of Johnny Cash. Beam’s contribution to the album was a take on the much-covered track “Long Black Veil,” which Cash recorded for his 1965 album Orange Blossom Special. Continue reading »

Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine has established herself as something of a covers aficionado, taking on a diverse roster of artists from Drake to Buddy Holly. She debuted her latest cover while taping her upcoming episode of MTV’s Unplugged, which will air on April 8. Following in the footsteps of her excellent collaboration with Billy Bragg on “Fairytale of New York,” Florence teamed up with Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme for a cover of Johnny Cash and June Carter’s classic duet, “Jackson.” Continue reading »

Electronica artist Adam Young, who performs under the moniker Owl City, released a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Home of the Blues” on his blog. Young stated that the song is one of his favorites by Cash. Continue reading »

Last October, Chris Isaak released his excellent Sun Studios cover album (read our review) and he’s still promoting it in the new year. Last night he hit Conan for a performance, joined by O’Brien himself on guitar. The band performed a jumping take on Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire,” with Conan in a vintage nudie suit. Continue reading »

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 »

Before heading to Australia to open for The National, The Walkmen are in the midst of a September tour opening for Fleet Foxes in the U.S.  The indie rockers are entering their second decade as a recording and touring band and are out supporting their sixth release, Lisbon.  They plan on going into the studio this November to record a new album. While in Seattle last week, they stopped by KEXP radio for a live acoustic session. Continue reading »

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