Jun 252024
 

Tom Petty was always open in his love and respect for country music. Debt, even, with many of his songs a mere pedal steel away from sounding that way. So the new tribute album Petty Country: A Country Music Celebration of Tom Petty is not remotely any leap into uncharted territory. And, go figure the number of existing covers of his songs, effortlessly traversing into the full Nashville, Bakersfield or wherever you want to be the center of the genre. And then go figure who is lined up here, with Dolly and Willie, to start with, they who need no surname, right through Steve Earle and Margo Price and to more conventional hat acts like Chris Stapleton and George Strait.

Made with the full co-operation of the Petty estate, and, particularly, the oversight of his daughter, Adria, Petty Country unsurprisingly contains a Heartbreaker or two to beef up the instrumental chops. The songs contained herein also take a good walk through the catalog, unafraid of both picking the obvious candidates and digging deeper.
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Oct 312023
 
Deer Tick – Dancing In The Dark (Bruce Springsteen cover)

“For me, ‘Dancing in the Dark’ isn’t a song about romance, but instead a desperate plea to break out of some degraded, stagnant situation. The narrator is filled with angst, self doubt, and the only way out is to the sheer force of unwavering will power,” says Deer Tick guitarist/vocalist Ian O’Neil. “Bruce really shows us who he is on this one and it looks an awful lot like the rest of us.”

Die Sauerkrauts Polka Band — Now That’s What I Call Polka! (Weird Al cover)

There are a lot of Weird Al covers out there (okay, maybe not a lot, but more than you might think). This is new though. This band didn’t cover one of Weird Al’s parodies. They didn’t even cover a Weird Al original, like “Dare to Be Stupid.” They covered one of his polka medleys (a subject I interviewed Al about in Cover Me the book—excerpt at The AV Club). Meaning, they covered polka versions of hits by Miley Cyrus, One Direction, Gotye, and many more, all in a brisk medley. A very silly music video brings it home. Continue reading »

Oct 202023
 

In Memoriam pays tribute to those who have left this world, and the songs they left us to remember them by.

Tom Petty

Tom Petty (10/20/50 – 10/2/17) was clearly one of the good guys, with little but praise of and for him following his untimely death, 18 days shy of his 67th birthday. Possibly going a little too hard celebrating the end of the Heartbreakers’ 40th anniversary tour, he took that one toke over the line and died of an accidental drug overdose. What a waste, just say no, etc etc. (To be fair, intractable pain from a fractured hip and his emphysema were each also weighing heavy at the time.)

Petty was no stranger to cover versions, over his lengthy career, initially with the later revived Mudcrutch, but predominantly with his own band, 13 albums as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and 4 under his own name alone, there are a few, mainly across his myriad live albums. Today, though, we are to celebrate covers by others of his own songs, but it would be churlish not to take at least a nod at his rendition of Lucinda Williams’ “Change The Locks” or his version of the UK one hit wonder “Something In The Air,” originally by Thunderclap Newman.

A Tom Petty song was seldom comparable to the work of others, or transferable, that much, to other styles, mainly down to the idiosyncrasy of his vocal style, a high pitched nasal whine. My apologies to anyone put off by that overly clinical description of his voice, for, in full flight, it was a rousing and rallying instrument of power and promise. Still is. But it would somehow be remiss not to comment on the one very similar singing style, especially given the reception of the debut single from Petty and his team…
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May 302023
 
animal collective dreams cover

Animal Collective’s debut album Spirit They’ve Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished came out nearly 23 years ago, though when it came out it was only credited to Avey Tare (David Portner) and Panda Bear (Noah Lennox), and really it’s mostly an Avey Tare solo album. They’ve released a reissue of the album with an EP of requisite bonus tracks, given its own title, A Night At Mr. Raindrop’s Holistic Supermarket. Included in this EP of outtakes is a pretty radical cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.” Of course, “pretty radical” is what you would expect from Animal Collective. Continue reading »

Jun 302022
 
best covers of june 2022
Angel Olsen – Greenville (Lucinda Williams cover)


Angel Olsen dropped two terrific covers this month. Her version of Dylan’s “One Too Many Mornings,” recorded for the TV show Shining Girls, features haunting electronic textures underpinning her voice. It’s a surprisingly un-folky cover of one of Bob’s early folk songs. Her version of Lucinda Williams’ Car Wheels on a Gravel Road standout “Greenville” is just as good, guitar echoing behind her mesmerizing double-tracked vocals. Continue reading »

Mar 232022
 

Welcome to Cover Me Q&A, where we take your questions about cover songs and answer them to the best of our ability.

a cappella cover

Here at Cover Me Q&A, we’ll be taking questions about cover songs and giving as many different answers as we can. This will give us a chance to hold forth on covers we might not otherwise get to talk about, to give Cover Me readers a chance to learn more about individual staffers’ tastes and writing styles, and to provide an opportunity for some back-and-forth, as we’ll be taking requests (learn how to do so at feature’s end).

Today’s question, suggested by staffer Hope Silverman: What’s your favorite cover as performed by a choir?
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