Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.
“I Want You Back” was such a perfectly written song it would have been a hit no matter who did it first (Gladys Knight & the Pips were early candidates, as was Diana Ross), but the world lucked out by discovering it through the Jackson 5. Michael Jackson, still a couple years away from his teens, delivered a vocal Dave Marsh called “just beyond belief, nuanced and knowing but at the same time, young and innocent.” Backed by a musical track that combined the sounds of Motown and Sly & the Family Stone with a double dose of sunshine, Michael and his brothers were never going to miss the target, but who knew their arrow would embed itself so deeply in the bull’s-eye?
Continue reading »
This was the first year that the free, three-day music festival Hardly Strictly Bluegrass was without it’s founder Warren Hellman. Warren passed late last year and left a San Francisco tradition that is being faithfully carried out by an army of music lovers, bigger and better than ever. This year’s festival in Golden Gate Park featured 6 stages, a crowd of 600,000 and 88 acts with a variety of artists like Patti Smith, Elvis Costello, The Lumineers, Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris, Conor Oberst, The Civil Wars, Son Volt, Ralph Stanley, Nick Lowe and many more. Check out a handful of the many covers from the weekend below! Continue reading »
Comprised of Johnny Depp’s Doppelganger John Paul White and the angel-voiced Joy Williams, The Civil Wars have become fairly famous over the past few months, partially for their interpretive acoustic covers. Having already conquered the likes of Michael Jackson, Elliot Smith and Smashing Pumpkins, the duo have attached their talents with the catalog of an even more unlikely group, British trip-hoppers Portishead, for the B-Side of their recent 7-inch. Continue reading »
Celebrating their 50th anniversary The Chieftains will mark the occasion with the release of Voice of Ages on February 21. The album features the torch-bearers of traditional Irish music collaborating with stars from the worlds of indie-rock (Bon Iver, The Decemberists, The Low Anthem), country and Americana (The Civil Wars, Pistol Annies, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Punch Brothers), Irish and Scottish folk (Imelda May, Lisa Hannigan, Paolo Nutini) and more. Continue reading »
Christmas covers come pretty fast this time of year (duh), so we periodically step back to collect a bunch in a single post. Our last set was a few weeks ago and since then we’ve posted new Christmas songs by My Morning Jacket, Josh T. Pearson, Dawes/Peter Wolf Crier/Mannequin Man, and Red Wanting Blue/Tristen. Even with all that, though, there have been even more we haven’t gotten to. So here’s a bunch, crammed together for a holiday mixtape or just some Christmas cheer. Continue reading »
The Civil Wars are a band on the rise. In 2008, singer-songwriters Joy Williams and John Paul White met during a Nashville, Tennessee songwriting session and the result was the birth of the indie folk, alt-country band. In 2009 friend and TV producer Allan Heinberg placed their early single “Poison & Wine” on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, which generated lots of Internet searches. Two days later, the four song EP Poison & Wine was released and then it was selected by iTunes as the “Best of 2010” singer/songwriter album. Continue reading »
The late Elliott Smith’s catalog is full of moody, mellow indie-folk gems that have proven ripe for covering, with other notable acoustic-leaning musicians like Ben Folds, Seth Avett and many more offering up their own takes on his songs. Given the popularity of Smith covers and their own penchant for re-interpreting established works, it’s little surprise that up-and-coming folk duo The Civil Wars decided to record a cover of one of his best songs, “Between the Bars” from his 1997 album Either/Or (Full Album set here). Continue reading »
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 Civil Wars have made a reputation for themselves as great live performers. The duo, Joy Williams and John Paul White, inaugurated the band by recording their second show ever. They released it as a free album, Live at Eddie’s Attic, which has become a grassroots success with over 100,000 downloads. So it’s no surprise that they’ve done a series of standout live covers since they formed in 2008. Williams says, “We happen to have a great affection for covers…we sort of noodle around trying to find which song sings back to us in the midst of trying to cover a song.” Continue reading »