Riley Haas

Riley is a digital marketing trainer and strategist in Toronto. He obsessively writes and talks about music and once had a classic rock radio show in university. His favourite cover of all time is Uncle Tupelo's version of the Stooges' "I Wanna Be Your Dog." He's also a movie fan, having seen approximately 4,400 films. You can follow him on Twitter @riley_haas.

May 152024
cody jinks take this bottle cover

Faith No More were one of the most diverse alternative metal bands of the ’90s. Especially on their last two albums before they broke up, they include multiple songs that have nothing to do with metal, recording R&B and gospel songs, other other genres. One of those songs is the country ballad “Take This Bottle” from 1995’s King for a Day…Fool for a Lifetime.

If there’s a country singer who should cover a country song by a metal band, it’s Cody Jinks, who began his career performing in a metal band influenced by ’80s metal. This isn’t one of Faith No More’s better-known songs, so it probably helped that Jinks was familiar with the metal scene of the era. For this cover he’s joined by Meat Loaf’s adopted daughter (and Scott Ian’s wife) Pearl Aday to turn this into a duet. Continue reading »

May 132024

“Song to the Siren” is Tim Buckley’s most popular song to cover, and it’s not even close, despite never seeing release as a single. It has four times as many covers as any of his other songs. It’s likely due to nothing Buckley himself did during his lifetime but rather due to the This Mortal Coil cover, which was a hit in the UK, from 1983. Most of the covers of this song come from well after the famous cover. Continue reading »

May 012024
ray laurel somewhere over the rainbow

Judy Garland’s signature song, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” was introduced to the world through her performance of it in The Wizard of Oz, for which composer Harold Arlen and lyricist Yip Harburg won an Oscar. It is perhaps equally well known in the 21st century for its incorporation with “What a Wonderful World” in a very popular cover by the Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwoʻole. Continue reading »

Apr 292024
pert near sandstone cant hardly wait cover

“Can’t Hardly Wait” is The Replacement‘s third single from their first album without lead guitarist Bob Stinson, Pleased to Meet Me. The song sees the band adopting slightly different roles, with lead singer Paul Westberger playing bass and bassist Tommy Stinson playing guitar, joined by the legendary Alex Chilton also on guitar.

Fellow Minneapolis natives Pert Near Sandstone are a bluegrass band that have been putting out albums for 20 years. They’ve done covers throughout their career and an early tape features many covers of contemporary and older bands and artists. Their latest cover tackles “Can’t Hardly Wait.” Continue reading »

Apr 192024
metallica funeral for friend love lies bleeding cover

Elton John and his lyricist Bernie Taupin were honored with the Gershwin Prize from the Library of Congress at the beginning of April. As part of the award ceremony, a number of big names performed covers of some of their most classic songs. Metallica might not be the most obvious band to perform at a tribute to Elton, but the progressive nature of his most epic songs, such as the 11 minute “Funeral for a Friend/Loves Lies Bleeding” which opens Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, makes some sense for metal bands. Continue reading »

Apr 122024
carlie hanson nutshell cover

Though not released as a single, “Nutshell” has probably become the best known song from Alice in Chains‘ second acoustic EP, Jar of Flies. (The first EP ever to debut on Billboard at #1, apparently.) Lead singer Layne Staley was writing more and more of his own lyrics and “Nutshell,” like many of his songs, concerns his struggles with addiction.

Carlie Hanson is a singer-songwriter from Wisconsin, who has put out a couple of albums and EPs over the last five years. She released her new cover of “Nutshell” on the 22nd anniversary of Staley’s death.

The song is famous for its extended acoustic guitar intro, just featuring guitarist Jerry Cantrell playing chords, with some bass accompaniment for nearly a minute before the drums and Staley’s vocals come in. Hanson begins her version with a loop and some prominent drums. But she wastes little in starting her vocal and once she starts singing the song much closer resembles the original. Though her pace is faster, her acoustic guitar moves forward in the mix and the loop fades.

For the wordless refrain, she piles on group vocals and drops the guitar fill, giving the vocals much more focus. These vocals feel a bit like a lament and the repeat as this version’s coda until they drop away and all we’re left with is a guitar repeating the main lick.

Though it starts out sounding very different, it’s actually a quite faithful rendition that manages to both recall the original but sound different enough. Check it out: