The full moon closest to the Autumn Equinox is referred to as the Harvest Moon. This time is upon us for 2023 and this year the show is particularly impressive, as our satellite is particularly close to us as a Supermoon. It could also be a time to revisit Neil Young’s 1992 classic album Harvest Moon. That is what his fellow Canadian Bella White has done, with a new cover of “Unknown Legend.”
Al Green — Perfect Day (Lou Reed cover)
It’s been 15 years since the last Al Green album. Does “Perfect Day” signal the beginning of his comeback? Unclear — I thought so after his last single, another cover, and that was five years ago. But we can hope. “I loved Lou’s original ‘Perfect Day’—the song immediately puts you in a good mood,” Green explained. “We wanted to preserve that spirit, while adding our own sauce and style.”
The second single from Rihanna‘s seventh album Unapologetic, “Stay” is a somewhat atypical piano ballad featuring minimal instrumentation. Cowritten by her duet partner Mikky Ekko, it’s a song that relies mostly on the power of their voices to succeed. And it did succeed, becoming Rihanna’s twenty-fourth top ten hit.
Rum Jungle are an Australian rock band from Newcastle, NSW who have been releasing music for about six years. Their new cover of “Stay” marks their first appearance on legendary Australian radio network Triple J’s cover series Like a Version.
As In This Moment prepares for the release of their new album Godmode this October, they have been teasing us with Björk covers. This formidable force within the alternative sphere released a version of “The Purge” by Björk this past July, and more recently they made their into Las Vegas’s Hideout Recording Studio to cover “Army of Me.”
The title More Than A Whisper – Celebrating The Music Of Nanci Griffith probably says it all, given the disproportionate heft of the footprint left behind by this self-effacing singer. Her mild and bookish persona, all ankle socks and cardigans, might suggest a small town librarian or primary school teacher, but what she gave, and what you got, was so very much more. A consummate writer of literate story songs (she called them folkabilly), Griffith could captivate any an audience with her Texas charm and sweet/sour voice, attracting the best musicians to play by her side. Both as a writer and an interpreter, she lived and breathed the characters in songs she made her own, several of which are well on the to becoming standards. Her run of albums, from her 1978 debut There’s A Light Beyond These Woods through to Storms, a decade and a bit later, was little short of astonishing, the traction of the one building on the next until she became quite the star. And if she became, latterly, drawn, or possibly led, more to the mainstream, with the country hayride honed down a little, still the songs remained the same, elegant constructions, meticulously put together. Illness quietened her workload this century, her last album made in 2012, before her death in 2021.
It is fair to say that most of the songs on More Than a Whisper come from Griffith’s imperial phase, 1987-9, a time where she could do no wrong, touring constantly, with new material pouring out of her. I must have seen her two or three times during those years; she always included the UK and Ireland in her itineraries. I was never less than enthralled by the show she and her Blue Moon Orchestra would put on, falling, always, a little more in love. And, lest you feel this project of such appeal as to bring back singers from the dead, this album has been several years in the gestation, it fitting, and vital, that it should include one singer always very closely associated with her. You’ll know who I mean.
There are a small number of modern songs based on a prayer from the Talmud, with one of the most famous, and most covered, being Leonard Cohen’s “Who By Fire.” >Cohen took the Unetanneh Tokef (“Let Us Speak of the Awesomeness”) passage, recited on Yom Kippur, and wove a tale of those who would pass during the year, as the judgment of God from the Book of Life. Cohen and Janis Ian play the role of the readers. The original is very matter-of-fact about the job and attaches no additional emotion to the task at hand. Although there are a number of ways in which the judgment can be visited, the outcome is (of course) the same.