Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.
If everything about Rodney Crowell were forgotten save for “‘Til I Gain Control Again,” he wouldn’t be forgotten at all. Which is a clumsy way of saying that this long-established writer, singer and performer, the author of a mighty, mighty tome of material, can sleep content in the knowledge that he has written at least one stone-cold classic.
Mind you, for the purposes of this piece, let’s not forget that the original iteration of this beauty came via the incomparable throat of Emmylou Harris. It made for the show-stopping side one closer on her second record, Elite Hotel. While she and Crowell have played a lot of shows together this century, as a double header, way back then he was just one of the hired hands in her incomparable Hot Band. Alongside the players couped from Elvis Presley’s TCB band, James Burton and Glen D. Hardin, Crowell was the fresh-faced rhythm guitarist who was hired to sing duets with Harris and write some songs. He delivered “Blueberry Wine” for her debut, sufficient reason to be kept on.
It is a relief that the Harris version is the de facto original. Not because Crowell can’t give it a decent going over (he can), but because, were it not, it would be a shoo-in for this selection. We are thus granted five full further versions, all of which cast a slightly different sheen on this quintessential country weepie.