Feb 262021
 

‘The Best Covers Ever’ series counts down our favorite covers of great artists.

willie nelson covers

Today, Willie Nelson releases his 71st – yes, you read that right, 71st – album. It’s a set of Frank Sinatra covers called That’s Life. We’ll have a review of it next week.

But while we prepare to hear more covers by Willie Nelson, we thought it was a good chance to look at covers of Willie Nelson. Because those 71 albums include hundreds and hundreds of songs Willie wrote himself, from classics like “Crazy” and “On the Road Again” to a plethora of deep cut gems just waiting to be discovered. And you can’t spell “discover” without “cover,” so we’ve put together thirty ways for you to discover some songs you don’t know and new interpretations of some songs everyone knows.

Because Willie’s discography is so deep and times convoluted, we set a few ground rules for this list:

  • We only included covers of songs Willie himself wrote, rather than songs he just popularized. That knocks out a few of his big hits: “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” and “Always on My Mind” among them.
  • The first recording of a Willie song doesn’t count as the cover – even if that first recording wasn’t by Willie himself. Remember that before you get mad that Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” is not on this list. Subsequent versions of those songs are of course fair game.
  • An artist can’t cover themselves. That normally goes without saying, but Willie’s recorded in so many different bands and configurations, the same songs sometimes come up repeatedly. So The Highwaymen singing an older Willie song doesn’t qualify as a cover.

Okay, caveats and disclaimers behind us, let’s dive in! Click onward for the 30 best Willie Nelson covers ever…

The list continues on Page 2.

Jun 302015
 

brightersideAs long as there has been Western art, there has been a debate regarding the nature of the simulacrum, a Latin word that originally meant representation but has come, in philosophical circles, to mean any kind of imitation or copy. Plato distinguished between a noble type of simulacra – an exact copy – and an inherently dishonest image that has been distorted or altered (usually by a painter, sculptor, or actor) in order to seem true and elicit a particular emotional response for the viewer. Leaving aside Plato’s alarmist anxiety regarding the power of artist to willingly manipulate a populace via dangerous and immoral entertainments, his two “types” of simulacra represent two poles of a continuum that might be used to describe covers. Covers inherently create simulacra that, depending on the intent of the cover artist, fall somewhere between the perfect replica and the “distorted” copy designed to reposition a song in a new historical or generic context so that it might feel true to a new audience.

The thirteen covers on The Brighter Side: A 25th Anniversary Tribute to Uncle Tupelo‘s ‘No Depression’ all lean toward the latter variety, taking significant liberties to reimagine the album as one that neatly and cleanly fits into the genre of alt-country, a genre that more or less didn’t exist twenty-five years ago. The question of representation becomes even more complicated, though, when one considers the fact that the alt-country lens through which these songs are here replicated is one that is largely believed to have been created or codified by the release of No Depression itself. In other words, No Depression is here being translated into a genre that, in theory at least, it helped invent.
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Mar 012013
 

Under the Radar shines a light on lesser-known cover artists. If you’re not listening to these folks, you should. Catch up on past installments here.

Kevin Dotson got the name Linus of Hollywood from his wardrobe bearing a similarity to that of the Peanuts character. A self-described metalhead in his youth, he started out in the pop-punk band Size 14; by the time he was releasing solo work, he was radiating California, from his nom de tune to the good vibrations coming off his sunny melodies in waves. Continue reading »

Jul 122011
 

Regular readers know that every Tuesday brings another installment in the A.V. Club’s terrific Undercover series. Bands show up in their round room and cover a song from a list. A simple premise that produces terrific results.

Today, though, the preeminent pop culture website is doing something different. In lieu of their normal routine, they recorded seven covers in various Chicago locations of songs having to do with summer. They’ll be posting these “Summer Breeze” covers all day and, as a result, we’ll be updating this post all day. Check back here or follow us on Twitter to see when more get added. Continue reading »

May 182011
 

Every Wednesday, our resident Gleek Eric Garneau gives his take on last night’s Glee covers.

In “Funeral,” the glee club prepares for their pending trip to Nationals, but are hit surprisingly hard by the death of club nemesis Sue Sylvester’s sister.

I imagine some viewers out there feel cheated by the identity of the person who dies in “Funeral.” I thought for sure the smart money was on Kurt’s dad Burt (Mike O’Malley). On last week’s post commenter Jason supposed it’d be Karofsky, closeted football player and Kurt’s one-time enemy, whose death would’ve provided a surprising end to his arc but didn’t seem impossible. Yet “Funeral” took from us Sue (Jane Lynch) Sylvester’s sister Jean, an almost non-character who appeared a few times throughout the course of the show to remind viewers that Sue indeed had a heart. Continue reading »