May 242011

Dylan Covers A-Z presents covers of every single Bob Dylan song. View the full series here.

We began our celebrations yesterday, but today, in fact, is the big day. On May 24th, 1941, Bob Dylan was born at St. Mary’s Hospital in Duluth, Minnesota. Twenty-one years later he released his first album and ever since…well, you know.

We continue our week-long series presenting covers of every single Dylan song with “Father of Night,” one of several Dylan songs that Manfred Mann rescued from obscurity. From there we hit songs by Jeff Buckley, The White Stripes, George Harrison, and, oh, about 54 more. Hours of music, and we’re not even halfway done! Continue reading »

Feb 152011

A truly unique voice with an unusual perspective on life, Vic Chesnutt created some of the most fascinating alternative folk music from 1990 until his death by his own hand on Christmas Day of 2009. Paraplegic as the result of a car accident at the age of 18, he received a good deal of acclaim, but little success, continually shuffling between labels and never breaking through to the mainstream. He always garnered the respect of his peers, however – the Sweet Relief Two tribute album of 1996 featured none other than Madonna, R.E.M. and Smashing Pumpkins. Canadian alt-country legends Cowboy Junkies now offer their tribute to Chesnutt in the form of their new album Demons, featuring 11 covers of his songs.

The Junkies built their career on well-chosen and well-crafted covers (you can see our recent feature here) and they continue the tradition nicely in the present album. They open with a raucous take on “Wrong Piano,” originally a slow contemplative ballad from 1995’s Is The Actor Happy. The Junkies reimagine the track with distorted lead guitar and loud “Like A Rolling Stone”-style organ, only bringing it down to allow vocalist Margo Timmins to deliver the verses. Continue reading »

Jan 212011

Quickies rounds up new can’t-miss covers. Download ‘em below.

• For years being in an Apple ad was the pinnacle of sell-out success. But what about all those other smart phones? Surely they deserve their own indie-breakout soundtracks. Well, Rachel Goodrich’s Micachu and the Shapes cover was featured in a Blackberry ad last month! The song? “Golden Phone.” Here’s hoping that pays the bills.
Continue reading »

Jan 062011

Our 45-songs-and-counting Cowboy Junkies Live Collection included the October live debut of Vic Chesnutt’s “Wrong Piano,” which was recorded in Edmonds, Washington. The sound quality left something to be desired, but the promise shone through. Well now we return with the Junkies‘ official studio recording of “Wrong Piano.” It’s a distorted blast of guitar and organ, and our first glimpse at what next month’s Chesnutt tribute album holds in store. Continue reading »

Dec 222010

Live Collection brings together every live cover we can find from an artist. And we find a lot.

Hailing from the barren Canadian wilderness – make that the suburbs of Toronto – the Cowboy Junkies have come a long way in the 25 years since they formed. Clichéd though it may be, they recorded their first album, 1986’s Whites Off Earth Now!, in an actual garage. The band, consisting of the three Timmins and a friend on bass, have always featured cover tunes as an essential part of their repertoire, from the blues tracks on Whites, to their breakthrough version of The Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane”, to their upcoming collection of Vic Chesnutt covers.

For the latest edition of the Live Collection, we sifted through the Live Music Archive to bring you a set that spans the Junkies’ entire career (right up to a Chesnutt cover from October). Dedicated fans may not gasp at the song selection; the band does not throw in novelty “Like A Virgin” or “Run To The Hills” covers. Instead, they honor more obvious influences such as Townes Van Zandt, Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young. However, the casual listener who only knows the band through their one platinum album (1988’s The Trinity Session) may not expect the darkness of “State Trooper” or the foreboding of Robert Johnson’s “32-20 Blues”. Continue reading »