Nov 232020
 

Kindred Spirits Larkin PoeThis should have been a belter.

True, in places Kindred Spirits shines, and it’s everything one could have expected from this talented pair of sisters.

But?

Let’s first set the scene. Larkin Poe are Megan and Rebecca Lovell, two sisters from Tennessee, deeply ingrained with the sounds of “the South Will Rise Again,” i.e. the Allmans and all who knelt before them. Indeed, their publicity touts them as little sisters of the Allman Brothers (although the Black Keys, for me, is a better reference, sonically speaking). Kick-ass slide and sassy vocals are their calling cards, and since 2014 they have produced a run of well-received records, usually with an added rhythm section adding woomph to their twin guitars and vocals. In recent years they have seemed glued to the side of Elvis Costello, notably on his solo tours to support the autobiography, acting as his support band and accompanists. Frankly, at times, they were better than their employer.

A lighter side of their work has been the slew of YouTube recordings put up, looking all very ad-hoc, in hotel rooms, maybe whilst touring, and a delight they are.Kindred Spirits is in that style, just the the two of them.
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Apr 062015
 

“Let’s see if you can spot this one.”

Those are the words uttered by Eric Clapton before he starts the acoustic version of Derek and the Dominos’ classic “Layla” on his 1992 MTV Unplugged performance.  Those words popped into my head the moment I heard Krish Ashok start singing the song – now called “Leela” – in the ancient language of Sanskrit. Continue reading »

Aug 302013
 

Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.

Jimi Hendrix was only 27 when he died in 1970. Stop and ponder that for a second. An immense talent whose career was tragically cut short more than four decades ago, Hendrix continues to interest and influence musicians and music lovers, and for good reason. Although Hendrix was primarily a rocker, his music was really a fusion of rock, blues, soul, funk and jazz, and probably some other things, too.

“Little Wing” is a concise masterpiece, lasting less than two and a half minutes in its original studio version, which infuriatingly fades out during a guitar solo. It contains a few unmistakable guitar riffs, with a distinctive tone that Hendrix described as sounding like “jelly bread,” achieved by running the guitar through the Leslie speaker of an organ. The song is intense without being frantic, and at the same time is also ethereal and seductive. It also is very much of its time, with lyrics about “butterflies and zebras, and moonbeams and fairy tales.”
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Nov 302012
 

The Wikipedia entry for “Layla” notes that “Covers have been fairly rare” and for once the site is right. Though it’s one of the most classic rock songs in the classic rock cannon, most of the few covers that exist are either speed-riff ripoffs or smooth jazz grooves inspired by Eric Clapton’s MTV Unplugged version. A few do, however, bridge the gap – or go in a different direction entirely. Download the five best below. Continue reading »

Feb 042011
 

For the last two years, Bill Janovitz, guitarist and vocalist from Buffalo Tom, has posted a cover a week (almost) on his blog “Part Time Man of Rock.” Last week he celebrated 100 covers with his version of Aztec Camera’s “The Bugle Sounds Again.” Where the original sounds like mid-‘80s British indie pop, Janovitz’s version could easily pass as an outtake from Bruce Springsteen’s Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. Continue reading »