If there was ever a year to go ahead and start the Christmas music early, this might be it. Christmas music means it’s almost Christmas means 2020 is almost, finally, over. And what better way to get started than with everyone’s favorite Christmas song “Little Drummer Boy”!
Anyone familiar with John Prine probably hasn’t been surprised by the amazing amount of tributes being done by musicians of all kinds. He was a songwriter’s songwriter and he inspired a lot of folks. Our first round up included 13 different artists playing 15 songs, hits and deep cuts alike. In that list of songs, “Angel from Montgomery” was done four different times. It’s worth checking them all out but if you’re short on time, you should definitely give First Aid Kit a listen.
Anyone familiar with Rodrigo y Gabriela’s catalog can hear the influence of the acoustic duo’s roots in thrash metal bands, and not just because of the metal covers they have done over the years. The Mexican duo have covered Metallica frequently in their distinctive virtuosic style and they’ve returned to an early favorite with a studio version of “Battery”. It’s one of three metal songs, alongside Slayer and Megadeath, that will be included on their Record Store Day vinyl Mettal EP.
If you missed it the first time around, immediately go check out The Bird and The Bee’s truly wonderful Hall & Oates tribute from 2010. We’ve included songs from it on our Hall & Oates lists before, but start to finish it’s a great listen that has held up well. When the duo of Greg Kurstin and Inara George first released a Van Halen cover in March, we thought the long-awaited Volume 2 may be on the way. Now it’s confirmed with another track from the album: “Ain’t Talking ‘Bout Love”.
It’s been 23 years since Sublime released their self-titled studio album. It was their breakout record, gaining tons of airplay and new fans for the band. It was also their final album, released just months after lead singer Bradley Nowell’s death. One of the hit singles was “Doin’ Time”, a song built largely on samples and influenced heavily by George Gershwin’s oft-covered “Summertime”. Although it has aged well, it’s still a song that evokes the late 1990s. And then Lana Del Rey got a hold of it.
Mark Kozelek is no stranger to finding the gourmet meal in what others might consider fast food. A prolific songwriter whose own tunes have gotten progressively less melodic and lyrics have gotten more and more literal, Kozelek has not lost his touch in turning rock songs into acoustic vignettes. Here, he takes the Huey Lewis and the News 1985 pop rock song “The Power of Love” and, with the help of singer/violinist Petra Haden, he finds the beauty at its core.