Dec 012021
acoustic syndicate rock and roll

The Velvet Underground famously experienced minimal commercially success in their lifetime, but many of their songs have slowly found their way into the popular consciousness. One of those is “Rock & Roll” from Loaded, their last album with primary songwriter Lou Reed (the last proper Velvets album period, as far as most fans are concerned).

Acoustic Syndicate are a bluegrass band from the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. They’ve been together for nearly 30 years and have put out seven albums including a live album. The opening of their new “Rock & Roll” cover really sounds far from the Velvets’ original with just a solitary guitar, soon joined by a banjo. But when lead singer Bryon McMurry starts singing, the song is unmistakably “Rock & Roll,” with McMurry’s cadence not that far off from Reed’s speak-singing. McMurry plays with the lyrics a bit, which has become de rigeur for covers of this song.

Though the instrumentation is nearly entirely acoustic as you would expect from a bluegrass band, they play a variation of the song’s famous guitar hook on a distorted guitar. Rest assured, though, that there is a bluegrass break about three minutes in, with a pretty great banjo solo. Though it’s fairly faithful, those new touches that make this a fun, fresh take on the song.

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  One Response to “Acoustic Syndicate Do Bluegrass Cover of Velvet Underground’s “Rock & Roll””

Comments (1)
  1. Best thing I’ve heard all day, on a day when I needed a song like this! (Spent the night with my Dad in the hospital for something that turned out to be pretty minor, thankfully) Thanks for always steering us to new versions of songs we (or at least I) would almost surely NEVER hear otherwise – much appreciated.

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