Warren Haynes’ band Gov’t Mule have made a tradition of epic New Years Eve shows at New York’s Beacon Theatre. Last year they did three full sets of covers of other artists (as “Grateful Mule”, “The AllMule Brothers,” and “The Mule” [The Band]). And for 2016, they paid tribute to the long list of musician who left us this year, covering Leonard Cohen, Prince, David Bowie, Leon Russell, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Merle Haggard, The Eagles (for Glenn Frey), Parliament Funkadelic (Bernie Worrell), Earth, Wind & Fire (Maurice White), The Black Crowes (Eddie Harsch), and Emerson Lake and Palmer (Keith Emerson and Greg Lake). Whew!
Amy Winehouse’s new rarities album Lioness offered three never-before-heard covers: “Our Love Will Come,” “The Girl from Ipanema,” and Leon Russell’s “A Song for You.” We’ve heard the first two already, and now we have the last. It’s an emotional soul-jazz run through the oft-covered classic and, barring any future archive releases, may be the last cover we ever hear her do.
Los Angeles-based folk-rockers Dawes are touring the nation in support of their sophomore LP Nothing is Wrong and when they stopped recently at Royale in Boston, the folks at Visible Voice were on hand to review the show. Along with their review, the Voice posted a new live recording of the last time Dawes hit Boston, opening for Middle Brother at the Paradise in March. Along with some passionate recordings of their early material and an always-appreciated cameo from the legendary Jonny Corndawg, this set featured a cover of the ’70s rocker “Out In The Woods” by Rock Hall of Famer Leon Russell, known for his extensive session work with some of the biggest bands of the classic rock era.
In February 2010, an all-star roster of artists and legends came together to honor Neil Young at a charity tribute concert. Now, a year later, the footage from that show will finally see release. A MusiCares Tribute to Neil Young features James Taylor, Wilco, Norah Jones, and more – and we’ve got a first look below!
What Neil Diamond means to you depends on your frame of reference. It could mean The Jazz Singer film and soundtrack with the iconic hit “America.” It could mean singing “Sweet Caroline” during the eighth inning of Red Sox games. It could even mean Will Ferrell parodies on Saturday Night Live, but few don’t recognize the name. A prolific songwriter and performer, Neil Diamond sells out arenas and, unlike certain schmaltz-rock peers (read: Billy Joel), regularly releases new material. On his newest disc Dreams, Diamond interprets classic songs by Bill Withers, Leonard Cohen, Randy Newman, The Eagles and others. Johnny Cash‘s American series remains the most obvious point of comparison for any aging singer releasing back-to-roots covers, but unlike Cash, Diamond chose not to cover any current artists. He didn’t exactly unearth any buried treasures either. No, he chose to cover songs like “Hallelujah” (over 200 covers to date) and “Ain’t No Sunshine” (144). Interpreting standards is a tricky business and albums turn out badly if the artist doesn’t choose the songs and arrangements with care. We’re looking at you, Rod.