Ashley McBryde – You’re Lookin’ at Country (Loretta Lynn cover)
The Country Music Hall of Fame recently presented a video series called Big Night at the Museum, getting modern country and Americana artists to cover Hall of Famers. Lucinda Williams did Johnny Cash, Miranda Lambert did John Prine, and a bunch more. Best by a blonde-streaked hair was Ashley McBryde, a performer who skirts the line between country, Americana, and brawny rock, proving her bona fides on Loretta Lynn’s “You’re Lookin’ at Country.”
Big Red Machine – Wise Up (Aimee Mann cover)
A whole host of special get-out-the-vote covers dropped in the month leading up to Election Day. Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, based in the swing state of Wisconsin, revived his collaboration with Aaron Dessner of The National (a popular person to collaborate with these days) Big Red Machine for this terrific Aimee Mann cover.
Bill Callahan & Bonnie Prince Billy – Deacon Blues (Steely Dan cover)
Bill Callahan and Will Oldham continue their covers series with one of the best entries yet. I hope all of these are going to be bundled into a covers album! Except for, perhaps, their Billie Eilish cover – a fun experiment that didn’t really work.
Bow Thayer – Swingin’ (Tom Petty cover)
Since Tom Petty’s death, I would have thought I’d heard new covers of just about every one of his songs. Nope. Vermont multi-instrumentalist Bow Thayer revives the extremely deep cut “Swingin'” – off 1999’s Echo, if you were wondering – recording all the parts himself. It was part of a series of streams called Know What’s Right that benefits organizations from the Transgender Law Center to Black Lives Matter.
Helado Negro ft. Flock of Dimes – Lotta Love (Neil Young cover)
Helado Negro says: “I was captivated by the song’s sincerity and wondered how to make a version that compelled you to step closer to the words. I wanted it to be hymnal and spiritual outside of religion. I interpreted the theme of the song to be about protection. How do we protect each other? Creating this version helped me find some sonic respite and hopefully it does the same for others.”
The Kills – Cosmic Dancer (T. Rex cover)
Feeling like you’ve had your fill of T. Rex covers after Hal Wilner’s massive posthumous tribute album a few months back? Well, I hope you saved room for one more, because The Kills’ “Cosmic Dancer” is as a worthy late addition to 2020’s Marc Bolan cannon. It’s almost as good as the Nick Cave version!
Leif Vollebekk – 29 #Strafford APTS (Bon Iver cover)
Buried beneath the weird effects and bizarre song titles of Bon Iver’s 2016 album 22, A Million were some solid songs. On his new piano cover of “29 #Strafford APTS” (see what I mean about the titles?), Leif Vollebekk dusts some off the oddity off to reveal the sparkle beneath.
MAXN – Wichita Lineman (Glen Campbell cover)
An vocoder-ed “Wichita Lineman” may not be to everyone’s taste, but I appreciate the audacity of trying something so different with a song that’s been covered so many damn times. Never like this!
Slow Magic – Dammit (Blink-182 cover)
There is a new covers album out that is 28 different covers of Blink-182’s “Dammit.” Yes, I listened to every one. They are – surprise surprise – not all great. But this one is a highlight, and it’s worth poking around the complete album to find your own favorites.
Superchunk – Alice (Sisters of Mercy cover)
Drummer Jon Wurster recently played on a song about Sisters of Mercy singer Andrew Eldridge with his band the Mountain Goats. The band subsequently covered a Sisters of Mercy song live. Wurster must be on a real Sisters of Mercy kick, because now his other band – Superchunk – has covered Sisters of Mercy’s “Alice” for the b-side of their new Halloween single.
The Best of the Rest
Billy Ray Cyrus – Mama Said Knock You Out (LL Cool J cover)
Brittany Howard – “You’ll Never Walk Alone” (Rodgers and Hammerstein cover)
Chris Stapleton – Joy Of My Life (John Fogerty cover)
Darling West – Don’t Start (Dua Lipa cover)
Feist – Trouble (Cat Stevens cover)
Integrity – Cradle to the Grave (Motorhead cover)
Julia Logan – Dirty Work (Steely Dan cover)
Karen O and Willie Nelson – Under Pressure (Queen cover)
Khruangbin – Summer Madness (Kool & The Gang cover)
Moby feat. Julie Mintz – Who’ll Stop The Rain (Creedence Clearwater Revival cover)
Nathaniel Rateliff ft. Kevin Morby & Sam Cohen – There Is a War (Leonard Cohen cover)
Overcoats – No Surprises (Radiohead cover)
Porridge Radio – Who By Fire (Leonard Cohen cover)
S.G. Goodman – Lungs (Townes Van Zandt cover)
Supertaste – Can’t Get You Out of My Head (Kylie Minogue cover)
Tame Impala – Say It Right (Nelly Furtado cover)
Check out previous months’ best covers lists.