Aryl Watson

Aryl Watson wrote for Cover Me from October - November 2010. Aryl Watson works as an engineer, but in real life, he's a semi-skilled musician, soccer coach & music evangelist. He'll never say he's a music critic. Since he can't write music, he won't tell those who can that their music is good or bad. He lets the artist know with his earphones, speakers & credit card. Aryl's music tastes are eclectic, eccentric and expansive. He listens to lots of music & never dismisses a genre; the good music is there, it might just take a while to find it. He believes there are no guilty pleasures in music. If you take pleasure in listening to it, refuse to to feel guilty! That includes Hannah Montana soundtracks, Ke$ha, 'N Sync and Justin Bieber (yep, he likes the Bieber). Covers are his favorite genre of music. Re-interpreted music allows the listener to see artists and songs in a new light or find new favorites. A Run-DMC cover leads to Aerosmith whose cover leads the listener to Chuck Berry and so on.

Nov 152010

Benji Tranter is a fresh-faced singer-songwriter from Hereford (U.K.), which he describes as “a small hamlet which not ever so many people have heard of.” Here, Tranter decided to cover the Mystery Jets, an excellent band from London that not so ever many people in the US have heard about. A sad situation that needs to be addressed immediately. If you are unfamiliar with the Mystery Jets, check out their YouTube channel to catch up.

Obviously, Tranter is a big Mystery Jets fan, but why choose “Hand Me Down?” Tranter says: “When I heard this song I could hear another side to it through the lyrics, which I felt that I could bring to the song through an acoustic version, because essentially it’s quite a sad song.” The spare arrangement and ethereal backing vocals invite the listener to focus on the song’s painful lyrics in a way the original did not. Benji Tranter wanted to show another side of the Mystery Jets’ “Hand Me Down” and he succeeded, spectacularly. Continue reading »

Nov 112010

Song of the Day posts one cool cover every morning. Catch up on past installments here.

The A-Team influenced a generation of pre-teen boys into believing that they should “Pity the Fool!” The B.A. Baracus Band take it a step further, creating the ultimate ’80s cover band named after everyone’s favorite butt kicker, B.A Baracus. Unfortunately, gold chains or mohawks do not make an appearance. Using only guitar, djembe and kazoos, the B.A. Baracus Band has created covers that require the listener to stand up and dance. If said listener has consumed mass quantities, so much the better.

The band recently focused their creativity on LL Cool J‘s “Mama Said Knock You Out” (by the way, who wouldn’t want to see LL Cool J take on B.A. in all his glory?). As the djembe kicks in, remind yourself this is not your mama’s LL Cool J, and certainly not Street Sweeper Social Club’s Cool J. Incredibly, the white guys can keep pace with Cool J’s flow, shout-outs and overall swagger. Unfortunately, no video of “Mama Said Knock You Out” can be found on YouTube, but watch the band tear into Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl” here, then head over to the band’s website and download lots more ’80s cover goodness. First things first though, download The B.A. Baracus Band’s LL Cool J cover, fool! Continue reading »

Nov 092010

“Coal Miner’s Daughter” wasn’t just a song to Loretta Lynn; it was the story of her life. Lynn grew up in poverty, married at 13, had four children by 19. For most, it would be a recipe for disaster, but not for Lynn. When her husband Moony (named for the moonshine he ran) gave Lynn a guitar for her 24th birthday, she taught herself to play and began her journey towards country stardom. Loretta Lynn has written hundreds of songs, released over 70 albums and was one of the first women in Nashville to write songs from a woman’s point of view. Lynn was unafraid to be a liberated woman, releasing songs about birth control (“The Pill”), teen sex (“Wings Upon Your Horns”), and the Vietnam War (“Dear Uncle Sam”). Continue reading »

Nov 022010

What Neil Diamond means to you depends on your frame of reference. It could mean The Jazz Singer film and soundtrack with the iconic hit “America.” It could mean singing “Sweet Caroline” during the eighth inning of Red Sox games. It could even mean Will Ferrell parodies on Saturday Night Live, but few don’t recognize the name. A prolific songwriter and performer, Neil Diamond sells out arenas and, unlike certain schmaltz-rock peers (read: Billy Joel), regularly releases new material. On his newest disc Dreams, Diamond interprets classic songs by Bill WithersLeonard CohenRandy NewmanThe Eagles and others. Johnny Cash‘s American series remains the most obvious point of comparison for any aging singer releasing back-to-roots covers, but unlike Cash, Diamond chose not to cover any current artists. He didn’t exactly unearth any buried treasures either. No, he chose to cover songs like “Hallelujah” (over 200 covers to date) and “Ain’t No Sunshine” (144). Interpreting standards is a tricky business and albums turn out badly if the artist doesn’t choose the songs and arrangements with care. We’re looking at you, Rod. Continue reading »

Oct 282010

The music press (or at least the band’s publicists) tout the Rescues as an “indie supergroup.” Bands with major label contracts and five songs featured on Grey’s Anatomy are considered indie? And bands that don’t have any particularly famous members are now “supergroups”? What is the world coming to?

Regardless of the labels foisted on them, the Rescues are a talented group of musicians. The band’s four-part harmonies remind the listener of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. The Rescues use these harmonies to great effect on their cover of Katy Perry‘s “Teenage Dream,” recorded live in studio, though it appears it took four and a half takes to do it. The Rescues’ version ebbs and flows with a near-a cappella bridge and symphonic drum fills. It’s fun watching Rob Giles switch from drums to guitar and back again, without screwing up the vocals. Continue reading »

Oct 222010

It’s Darwin Deez week on Cover Me! A few days ago, we heard him cover the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Scar Tissue.” Now he’s back, but the group’s moved from Australia to Lincolnshire, England for the BBC’s Live Lounge college tour at Lincoln University. Deez also played a solo two song set that included a “secret cover.”

The DJs asked why Deez chose Katy Perry‘s “Teenage Dream” as the cover (whoops, secret’s out). He told them he admired the songwriters, Dr. Luke and Max Martin—hit-writers for *NSYNC, Kelly Clarkson, Britney Spears, Pink and others. Interestingly, it wasn’t their songs he admired, but their methods. Dr. Luke and Max Martin write songs in groups of four or five, whereas Deez writes his material without collaborators. One of the DJs commented that Deez wrote songs with heart while Dr. Luke and Max Martin wrote songs with computers. It was a nice compliment. Or a subtle dig. Hard to tell. Continue reading »