Aimee Mann – Brooklyn (Steely Dan cover)
If you missed the whole brouhaha when Steely Dan dropped Aimee Mann as their opening act, it’s too long to recap here. To skip to the end, Mann tweeted, “All is forgiven if Donald [Fagan] just tells me what Brooklyn is about.” And he did! So, at a recent show at City Winery, she covered it. All does indeed appear to be forgiven.
Billy Strings w/ Post Malone – Cocaine Blues (Johnny Cash cover)
Post Malone surprised a lot of people during the early days of a pandemic with his credible set of Nirvana covers. Now he’s singing Johnny Cash and, surprisingly enough, he’s pretty good at that too! The occasion was a sit-in with his pal, bluegrass-jam phenom Billy Strings, who himself does a terrific cover of Post Malone’s “The Circle.”
The Black Crowes – Papa Was a Rolling Stone (The Temptations cover)
On May 6, The Black Crowes will drop a new covers EP titled 1972. As you might guess from the title, it features covers of songs from 1972: The Rolling Stones’ “Rocks Off,” Rod Stewart’s “You Wear It Well,” Little Feat’s “Easy To Slip”, T-Rex’s “The Slider,” David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream,” and, the one we can listen to in advance, The Temptations’ “Papa Was a Rolling Stone.” “The year 1972 was a watershed moment, some of the greatest rock and roll songs ever made came out of that year,” The Black Crowes’ Chris Robinson said in a statement. “To get our band back together in the studio, it had to be a celebration of rock and roll. This record is about love and devotion to something that makes us feel good. We hope that it makes fans around the world feel the same.”
Fools – Only A Fool Would Say That (Steely Dan cover)
Yep, it’s our second Steely Dan cover of the month! If you’ve never heard of the band Fools, that’s because they’re not really a band at all. It’s the extremely esoteric solo project of Grizzly Bear’s Chris Bear. Fools’ entire output consists of, every year on April Fools Day, covering one song with “Fool” in the title. That’s all the band exists for. Last year was Burt Bacharach & Hal David’s “April Fools” and this year comes the Dan’s “Only A Fool Would Say That.” Brooklyn Vegan suggested the Doobie Brothers next year, but personally I’m hoping for Lil Jon & Three 6 Mafia’s “Act a Fool.”
Jim Sclavunos – Lay Down Your Weary Tune (Bob Dylan cover)
The second solo single by longtime Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds drummer Jim Sclavunos is a cover of Bob Dylan’s 1960s folkie outtake “Lay Down Your Weary Tune.” Sclavunos writes on Bandcamp that it was inspired by a member of the Bad Seeds fan community who died recently, and proceeds will go to benefit fellow Bad Seed Warren Ellis’s Ellis Park Wildlife Sanctuary and humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.
Julius Rodriguez – All I Do (Stevie Wonder cover)
This landed about a week too late for consideration for our forthcoming Best Stevie Wonders Covers Ever list, which is too bad, because it’s a gem, an upbeat jazzy run through a song you don’t hear covered much, from Stevie’s 1980 album Hotter than July.
Lisa O’Neill – All the Tired Horses (Bob Dylan cover)
This cover was commissioned for the finale of BBC show Peaky Blinders. O’Neill said, “We recorded this version of ‘All The Tired Horses’ in an old horse stables in Cabinteely, South Dublin over the space of two days. We recorded by constant candlelight as a dear friend was dying at the time. This all contributed to the energy and the charge of the final track. That friend has since passed. I wish to dedicate this song to Mick O’Grady – The Long Distance Kid – 1943-2022.”
Marissa Nadler – Cold Wind Blowing (David Lynch cover)
Says Nadler about this cover not of a David Lynch-esque song, but of a song actually by Lynch himself: “I’m an enormous David Lynch fan, and not just of his films and art, but also of his music. I love the simple power of the unadorned lyrics, as well as his vocal delivery. The recitation part in this song is killer, and it’s the first time I’ve ever tried one. I don’t want to speculate too much on what the song is about because I know songs can have many meanings, but who can’t relate to having a ‘cold wind blowing’ through their heart? Who can’t relate to “coming down on the wrong side of love?” “I see your smile on rainy days/ Spray painted on clouds floating by.” For anyone that’s ever been haunted by loss, been followed around by regret, those lyrics sting true. There’s a universality in the appeal of this song, but it’s also tantalizing for its strangeness and off-kilter rhythms.”
Pinegrove — Let Down (Radiohead cover)
Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood are all about their new band The Smile right now, but indie-rock band Pinegrove went back to the classics for a recent SiriusXM session. The song’s been covered many times before, but another pleasant folk-rock version will never go amiss.
Sheryl Crow w/ Mick Jagger – Live with Me (Rolling Stones cover)
A few years ago, Mick Jagger joined Buddy Guy to wail some harmonica on a cover of Rolling Stones rarity “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker).” Not he repeats the trick, hopping on Sheryl Crow’s version of Let It Bleed cut “Live with Me.” They’ve done the song together on stage as far back as 1994, but this is the first time they’ve committed it to tape.
Steve Earle – Gettin’ By (Jerry Jeff Walker cover)
In recently years, Steve Earle has recorded two tributes to his songwriting heroes: 2009’s Townes, for Townes Van Zandt, and 2019’s Guy, for Guy Clark. Now he’s back with round three (four if you count J.T., last year’s tribute to departed son Justin Townes Earle). It honors Jerry Jeff Walker, who passed in 2020. “This record completes the set, the work of my first-hand teachers,” Earle writes in the liner notes. “The records were recorded and released in the order in which they left this world. But make no mistake – it was Jerry Jeff Walker who came first.”
Sumerlands – I’m So Afraid (Fleetwood Mac cover)
On their first music in six years, Philadelphia metal band Sumerlands covered, of all people, Fleetwood Mac. And they didn’t do “Dreams” or “Landslide” or something either. They dug deep for the closing track on the Mac’s 1975 self-titled album that practically no one covers. It’s epic and magisterial, less “heavy” than you might expect (is that a 12-string acoustic guitar?) – at least until the epic guitar solo that dominates the entire second half of the cover for prime headbanging.
Willie Nelson – Tower of Song (Leonard Cohen cover)
Today, Willie Nelson releases his 837th album! Ok, not quite that many, but it does feel like that sometimes (he dropped two in 2021 alone). It includes this beautiful cover of “Tower of Song” (the “I was born with the gift of a golden voice” line works wonderfully when almost-90-year-old Willie speak-sings it, just as it did when an elder Leonard would). It’s not the first time Willie’s covered Cohen – don’t miss his “Bird on a Wire” – and hopefully it won’t be the last.
The Best of the Rest
Baker Boy – Song 2 (Blur cover)
Big Thief – Like a Rose (Lucinda Williams cover)
Bruce Hornsby – Too Much Monkey Business (Chuck Berry cover)
Bryan Ferry – I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself (Bacharach/David cover)
Coheed and Cambria – Love Gun (Kiss cover)
Cokegoat – Dogs (Pink Floyd cover)
The Goon Sax – Steal My Sunshine (LEN cover)
Harry Styles w/ Lizzo – I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor cover)
Japanese Breakfast – Skinny Love (Bon Iver cover)
Kurt Vile – Wages of Sin (Bruce Springsteen cover)
Lucius – A Lesson in Leaving (Dottie West cover)
Måneskin – Womanizer (Britney Spears cover)
Nouveau Arcade x The Anix – Apart (The Cure cover)
Pink Mountaintops – Nervous Breakdown (Black Flag cover)
Saint Disruption ft. Warren Haynes – Imagine (John Lennon cover)
Sylvie – Hold On Magnolia (Songs:Ohia cover)
Trampled By Turtles + Elizabeth Cook – Old Shoes (Tom Waits cover)
Check out previous months’ best covers lists.
The Bruce Hornsby version sounds very much like Leon Russel’s version on his album ‘Anything Can Happen’ !
Well, that’s in bad form, Steely Dan! Too bad because I, too, love them.