The writer Joe Queenan has written often about Elvis Presley’s film career. He specifically picks out 1961’s Blue Hawaii as a turning point where the output dipped. Not financially—Presley’s record of 31 consecutive money-making movies being untouchable—but in terms of almost all the other aspects of film-making. Nevertheless the film gave us one of Elvis’s all-time classics: “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”
Lake City Dive are consummate musicians that give every song an individual reading and style, hopping across genres where necessary. They like their cover versions to be like coming across the band in a $5 dive bar. For their “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” the bar is a tiki tavern in the hours leading to dawn. Regular featured artist Monica Martin, who is joining them for their Fall Tour, guests as an additional vocalist.
This version is masterly in its musicality and restraint. It was recorded live without headphones, as it is when it forms the encore at live shows. Hundreds of other cover versions have added to the song; Lake Street Dive strip it back. Bridget Kearney’s mesmeric bass is the foundation, so that the vocals and harmonies, from Martin and band founder Rachael Price, can have space to operate. The whole thing is as delicate as the light before sun comes up, and as memorable.