David Berman was never a household name, but it’s a measure of how deeply other musicians revere him that only two months after his passing he’s garnered not one but two complete new tribute albums. That’s over 50 new Silver Jews and Purple Mountains covers.
Anderson .Paak – Old Town Road (Lil Nas X cover)
Given how thoroughly “Old Town Road” dominated the summer – the longest-reigning Billboard #1 in history, for those under-a-rock-dwellers among you – it seems shocking that it took until now for the first truly great cover to emerge. Less shocking: that it came from rapper/singer/drummer extraordinaire Anderson .Paak. Back in May, he performed a more straightforward version with Lil Nas X himself, but for BBC’s Live Lounge he and his band The Free Nationals reinvented it into a soul groove with shades of D’Angelo.
aeseaes – Realiti (Grimes cover)
Bandits on the Run – Back to Black (Amy Winehouse cover)
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!
For most of their lifetime, the Silver Jews never toured and rarely played live. In fact, they hardly existed between albums. All that changed in 2006 when, after emerging alive from drug addiction, head Joo David Berman gathered players from the band’s 2nd and 4th albums to hit the road in support of Tanglewood Numbers. They promised to try their best and, generally, fans were pleased, if not ecstatic, to hear the songs they had long listened closely to on headphones blasted from a stage. But all that excitement may have been the beginning of the end. The band’s next album — the first written “post-applause” — would be their last. In January 2009, Berman announced that the Silver Jews were no more and he was “moving over to another category. Screenwriting or Muckraking.”