Singer Jessica Boudreaux got together with indie rock band Adult Mom to remake “Cruel Summer,” off Taylor Swift’s 2019 album Lover. The musicians made the song less peppy and celebratory on their cover, doing away with the wonky panned synths and autotuned chorus “yeahs” choosing a more gentle and melancholy tone.
Amy Speace – Don’t Let Us Get Sick (Warren Zevon cover)
“Don’t Let Us Get Sick” was a moving song even before Warren Zevon got sick, didn’t see a doctor soon enough, and died. After that, the context makes it even more poignant. The canonical cover is Judee Sill’s, but on her new album, Amy Speace gives it a run for its money.
Amanda Shires – That’s All (Genesis cover)
Our first song kicks off what will be a theme here. A lot of these came out at the very top of the year (or the very end of 2020) to kick a garbage year to the curb and hope for something better. Shires said: “’That’s All’ is a song that I have played a lot on tour. The song defines 2020 for me. It’s a true Covid anthem and I dare you to not dance to my version when you hear it!”
If you are currently binge-watching the Netflix show Bridgerton, yes, that was an orchestral cover of Ariana Grande’s “Thank u, next” you heard. The soundtrack to Bridgerton,a Shonda Rhimes 1800s period piece filled with wealth, lust, and betrayal, is overseen by composer and musician Kris Bowers. Bowers worked with Alexandra Patsavas, who is responsible for the six pop covers scattered through the series. Patsavas told Parade “the choices and their respective placements are each very deliberate, and that the Grande and Swift covers specifically ‘were able to tell the musical story and amplify a female perspective.”
It isn’t any longer a surprise when avowed adherents of one tradition tackle another, and folk singers tackling the pop charts is one of the staples of current expectation. And it can be a mixed blessing.
Kate Rusby has one of the purest and most distinctive of voices that grace the UK folk circuit, and has been one of the most successful, her career stretching back over three-plus decades. Firmly associated with the trad. arr. firmament, her voice, with acoustic guitar, fiddles, and squeezeboxes reaping the songs of old England, she also writes material that can fit into that style seamlessly. An unmistakably Yorkshire presence, her accent unadorned by any need to adopt the faux-ploughboy (or -girl) many folkies seem to adopt, her whole persona seems inhabited by the tradition. There are no messages, she has no soapbox–just the singing.