Jun 302010

Tribute Throwback shines some light on an underexposed tribute album. Enter to win a copy!

A few years ago I was poking around a Chicago record store and came across an intriguing album: Headed for the Ditch: A Michigan Tribute to Neil Young. I thought I knew all Neil Young cover collections, but this one I’d never heard of. I only knew one band on there, but the packaging looked nice and the price was right, so I picked it up. It worked out better than most impulse purchases I’ve made (incidentally, anyone want a lava lamp nightlight?).

The album contains eleven new covers by Michigan artists, ranging from Edward’s beautiful slow-building “Birds” to the Hard Lessons’ seven-minute blast through “Hey, Hey, My, My.” The disc hit the right blend of acoustic and electric, faithful and exploratory. Plus how many Neil Young tributes include “We R in Control,” the song from Neil’s ill-fated electronic venture Trans?

Now before you run off to iTunes, I’ll save you some time: You won’t find it. The old-school purists at Lower Peninsula Records only release their stuff on vinyl. But boy do they do a fine job. The beautiful gatefold packaging features a stitched 16-page booklet with handwritten lyrics and drawings by every band on the album. It sounds great and comes in a coffee table-worthy package to boot.

Oh, and did I mention we have one to give away? [EDIT: This contest is now closed.] Continue reading »