Aug 152016
 
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Preparing for this past weekend’s “Day of the Dead” concert – the all-star band rendition of The National-lead Grateful Dead tribute album of the same name at Bon Iver’s Eaux Claires festival in Wisconsin – I interviewed a handful of involved artists and kept asking a question that no one knew exactly what to do with. My question: “Given the legacy of the Dead as a live band, what is going to be different about playing these covers live, as opposed to recording them for a tribute album?”

After a thoughtful silence that may have been tinged with a little bit of puzzlement, everyone said something about it being a terrific opportunity to harness the additional energy of having a live crowd.

“No [it’s not going to be harder],” Megafaun’s Phil Cook told me, “mostly because people are just stoked as shit to hear a Dead cover. Whenever people in the audience recognize it, they just lose their shit. They’re so happy that you’re doing it. It’s a completely welcome enterprise.” Continue reading »

Mar 092016
 

Welcome to Cover Me Q&A, where we take your questions about cover songs and answer them to the best of our ability.

Here at Cover Me Q&A, we’ll be taking questions about cover songs and giving as many different answers as we can. This will give us a chance to hold forth on covers we might not otherwise get to talk about, to give Cover Me readers a chance to learn more about individual staffers’ tastes and writing styles, and to provide an opportunity for some back-and-forth, as we’ll be taking requests (learn how to do so at feature’s end).

Today’s question: What’s a favorite live cover song?
Continue reading »

May 142013
 

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!

Like any self-respecting rock musician these days, David Byrne has a musical currently running in New York, Here Lies Love, a disco extravaganza about Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, and today he will celebrate his 61st birthday basking in its excellent reviews and an extended run. Although Byrne will always be known for his work with Talking Heads, he has also released solo albums of wildly varied styles, written books, created visual art projects, directed films and written music for movies, television, ballet and opera (winning an Oscar for his work on The Last Emperor). He has collaborated with artists as diverse as Brian Eno, Fatboy Slim, St. Vincent, Twyla Tharp, Phillip Glass, Robert Wilson, Selena, and Thievery Corporation. Not to mention running a record label and an Internet radio station. Also, he has designed bicycle racks. Continue reading »

Apr 192013
 

Funkadelic is the slightly lesser known iteration of George Clinton‘s Parliament (who eventually toured under the name Parliament-Funkadelic, or P-Funk), but their critically-acclaimed Maggot Brain is packed with, well, funky dance tracks (and one mind-blowing guitar solo). “Can You Get to That” highlights the ensemble, freestyle feel of the album, with multiple vocalists and plenty of impromptu shouts. Recently, former member of the Staples Singers, Mavis Staples, recorded her own soulful version. Continue reading »

Jan 092012
 

Last month, Wilco invited friend of the band/Jeff Tweedy collaborator Mavis Staples and opening act Nick Lowe onstage for a Chicago show for a rousing cover of “The Weight.” Some shaky cell footage emerged, but now we have something better: a video of the impromptu supergroup rehearsing the cover backstage at the Civic Opera House. Continue reading »

Nov 152011
 

Every year, city of Melbourne, Australia puts on the Melbourne International Arts Festival. The event combines local and international artists of all sorts in a two-week program of events, exhibitions, and concerts. A few weeks ago, the festival wound up with an all-star protest concert titled Notes from the Hard Road and Beyond. It featured Joss Stone, Mavis Staples, and local favorite Paul Dempsey covering songs of hope and struggle. The whole thing was recorded by national station STVDIO for broadcast next Friday, but you can watch clips now. Continue reading »