Posts Tagged ‘Covers’

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Over two nights at the Royal Dramaten Theatre in Stockholm in March 2017, Swedish indie/folk act First Aid Kit paid tribute to the songs and poetry of Leonard Cohen. They did so with an ambitious theatrical staging that involved guest actors and artists, and eight-piece band with strings and a twenty-piece choir. ‘Who By Fire’, a double-LP live album, commemorates those two evenings. there’s a long history of covers of leonard cohen tracks showing just how incredible the canadian’s song writing was. First Aid Kit are the latest to breathe new life into his songs on this “theatrical staging” of his songs, poems and letters. we can think of few better people to take on his unparalleled canon than the Swedish duo – this will be stunning. that (famous) blue (raincoat) wax looks lush too!

First Aid Kit have announced that they’ll be releasing a live tribute album to Leonard Cohen, originally performed across two nights. Made up of 20 tracks of songs, poems, and letters, the duo were joined by Swedish guest artists, an 8 person band & strings, two actors, as well as a 20+ person choir on two of the songs. Conceived and anchored by First Aid Kit, the band are joined by an array of guest artists, two actors, an 8 member band and strings and on two songs a 20 strong choir. an incredibly ambitious undertaking, they selected and sequenced all of the material performed and collaborated with the theatre and their music director to stage and orchestrate the show.

Speaking today about Who By Fire, the Söderberg sisters say: “We recently listened back to this concert and realized that this was something out of the ordinary for us. It was a challenge to create a performance that wasn’t centered around First Aid Kit songs. It was something we’d never done before, but everything came together so well. Dwelling deeply into Cohen’s world was a pleasure, he was so prolific as both a poet and a songwriter, and everything he ever put out held a very strong standard. He cared immensely for his work. The band, the guest artists, the atmosphere on stage…everyone had a great passion and it felt magical. This is definitely a record that is best enjoyed listening to back-to-back with no interruptions. Allow yourself to just disappear into Cohen’s world for a little while.

“We decided not to edit any of the performances. The flaws are part of the live experience. In a time when you sadly can’t go to an actual physical live show, you can listen to this and imagine you were there…”

Who By Fire is Swedish sister duo First Aid Kit’s tribute to Leonard Cohen. Recorded live, they were joined by an array of fellow Swedish guest artists, an eight-person band & strings, two actors, as well as a 20+ person choir on two of the songs. Double indie shop exclusive LP pressing on Blue vinyl.

‘Who By Fire’ Tracklisting:
1. Tired (First Aid Kit, Nina Zanjani, Maia Hansson-Bergqvist)
2. Suzanne (First Aid Kit)
3. Sisters of Mercy (First Aid Kit, Nina Zanjani, Maia Hansson-Bergqvist)
4. Who by Fire / As The Mist Leaves No Scar (First Aid Kit, Nina Zanjani, Maia Hansson-Bergqvist)
5. Twelve O’Clock Chant (First Aid Kit, Nina Zanjani, Maia Hansson-Bergqvist)
6. Everybody Knows (Frida Hyvönen, First Aid Kit)
7. Avalanche (Loney Dear)
8. The Future (Maia Hansson-Bergqvist, First Aid Kit, Nina Zanjani)
9. Chelsea Hotel No.5 (Jesper Lindell, First Aid Kit)
10. You Want It Darker (First Aid Kit, Nina Zanjani, Maia Hansson-Bergqvist)
11. If It Be Your Will (First Aid Kit)
12. The Asthmatic (Nina Zanjani, Maia Hansson-Bergqvist, First Aid Kit)
13. Famous Blue Raincoat / Anthem (Maja Francis, First Aid Kit, Nina Zanjani)
14. Show Me The Place (Jesper Lindell, First Aid Kit)
15. Hallelujah (Annika Norlin, First Aid Kit)
16. Prayer for Messiah (Klara Söderberg)
17. Bird on the Wire (First Aid Kit )
18. Who by Fire (Reprise) / Letter to Marianne (First Aid Kit, Nina Zanjani, Maia Hansson-Bergqvist)
19. So Long Marianne (First Aid Kit, Frida Hyvönen, Loney Dear, Jesper Lindell, Annika Norlin, Maja Francis, Nina Zanjani, Maia Hansson-Bergqvist)
20. You’d Sing Too (Johanna Söderberg)

 

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Whatever your opinion on Radiohead’s 1995 album ‘The Bends’, it’s impossible to deny it’s cultural importance, responsible for inspiring a generation of musicians. Tackling classics of the genre is always fraught with challenges, and it’s a bold move for an artist who’s really only setting out on a new path of their own.

However, British singer Rosie Carney does exactly that, just a year after releasing her debut album ‘Bare’. Initially, it’s as if you’re hearing a ghostly impression of the original – recognisable and familiar, but still somewhat impalpable – akin to retrieving an old memory buried deep inside your hippocampus. With repeated listens, however, the full memory is easier to grasp, sharper and brighter each time.

Carney somehow manages to capture the raw anguish that pulses throughout much of The Bends but avoids falling into the trap of sounding unnecessarily tragic. Her version of “High and Dry” remains as stripped back as the original, but her lilting folk and subtle harmonies add a warmth that’s difficult to characterise.

For an album that has been charged with feeling a little bit heavy in places, Carney does a striking job of making the whole record surprisingly easy to listen to. “Fake Plastic Trees” gives way to “Bones” which cedes to “(Nice Dream)” as smoothly as the streams that course down the hills around the County Donegal coastline that Carney calls home flow into the sea.

There are a couple of reinventions, such as the vocoder driven “Sulk” and the softer, more dreamlike ‘Black Star’ but really the whole album is a testament to both Radiohead and Carney together. It’s proof of the old adage that a good song is only really a good song if it still sounds that way when everything is stripped back and just an acoustic guitar and vocals remain. Sure, there might be some keys and strings added here too, but they’re subtle and do nothing to detract from the main focus on each track.

As bolds move go, this is one that pays off. By treading where others might not dare Carney has pulled off a stunning coup that not only confirms her as a talented musician in her own right, but one that’s capable of holding a light to giants of the game.

Born in Hampshire, Rosie Carney moved to Donegal at the age of 10. She writes hauntingly beautiful tunes that have earned her millions of streams, and recently covered Radiohead’s classic album The Bends to gorgeous effect. She’s about to feature alongside Julian Stone and Lucy Rose on the new LP from Australian folk-rockers The Paper Kites, who recently hit their billionth stream.

Rosie Carney ‘The Bends’ out now on @Color Study, Release date: 11th December 2020.

Stephen Fain Earle (born January 17th, 1955) an American rock, country and folk singer-songwriter, record producer, author and actor. Earle began his career as a songwriter in Nashville and released his first EP in 1982. He grew up near San Antonio, Texas, and began learning the guitar at age 11. His breakthrough album was the 1986 album “Guitar Town”. Since then Earle has released 16 other studio albums and received three Grammy awards. His songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Travis Tritt, Vince Gill, Shawn Colvin and Emmylou Harris. He has appeared in film and television, and has written a novel, a play, and a book of short stories.  These are the best interpretations we can find of Steve Earle singing Bob Dylan’s songs.

“Señor (Tales of Yankee Power)”

Steve Earle with Lucia Micarelli  “One More Cup of Coffee (Valley Below)” possibily the best Bob Dylan cover ever, such passion and yearning in every line. When Dylan wrote ‘to the valley below’ it was deliberate, he took a prosaic sentence, one more cup of coffee before I go and changed it to a biblical epic with that line,

Steve Earle – guitar, vocal Lucia Micarelli – violin, vocal, From “Chimes of Freedom”: Songs of Bob Dylan Honouring 50 Years of Amnesty International –

“My Back Pages”

It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry”,

Fantastic end to the 1996 live MTV show called “To Hell and Back” of Steve Earle performing with the best Dukes line up and the awesome Custer on drums. With a song written by Bob Dylan that was originally released on his seminal album “Highway 61 Revisited”, and also included on the compilation album Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits 2 that was released in Europe.

“Masters of War” Musician Steve Earle sings Bob Dylan’s “Master’s of War.” Part of a reading from Voices of a People’s History of the United States (Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove,) Berkeley, California on November 11th, 2006.

Steve Earle: “Was Townes Van Zandt Better Than Bob Dylan?…I’m kinda famous for something I said…I was asked for a sticker for a Townes record that came out in the 80s, I said, Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the world and I’ll stand on Bob Dylan’s coffee table in my cowboy-boots and say that. 
It wasn’t that I thought that Townes was better than Bob Dylan. I just knew that Townes really needed the help more.”

Well, I love both Van Zandt and Dylan, and so does Steve Earle. He has done songs by both on several occasions, and he did an entire album with Townes Van Zandt songs. But Steve Earle is the perfect choice to sing any Dylan song.

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Surprise-release and “personally selected and sequenced to celebrate artists and songs that inspired him,” the new Chris Cornell album of cover versions is truly the gift that continues to give. A passionate vocalist with a famed four-octave range and a super alt-rock pedigree of time spent in Soundgarden and Audioslave (to say nothing of a series of solo albums invested in acoustic pop and nu-soul), having Cornell tracing over familiar lines such as those laid down by songwriters like John Lennon or interpreters such as Janis Joplin is to work the magic of true transformation.

What’s nice about “No One Sings Like You Anymore” is that this is not a portrait of the vein-popping Cornell screeching his way through a rager such as “Spoonman.” The ten tunes here are subtly sung numbers soft and poignant—focused on often-unsuspectingly melodic gems (like Guns N’ Roses’ “Patience,” done here as a dramatic mid-tempo ballad) with a quieter ensemble as backing. Not that he ever had to fight to be heard over Kim Thayil’s guitar army of lace and metal, Cornell could always sing loud enough to beat the band. On No One Sings Like You Anymore it’s clear—he doesn’t have to tangle in battle, and he sounded as if he was loving that ease of motion.

While Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” is played and sung like the grooviest chamber soul with a few twists and turns for rapt theatricality, Lennon’s latter-day “Watching the Wheels” is done humbly and straight, reverent to the ex-Beatle’s longing for normalcy, with just a supple kick to remind you of Cornell’s heft. Harry Nilsson’s riff-happy “Jump Into the Fire,” a favourite rocking cover of Cornell’s Temple of the Dog, is given an oddball, epic French horn break in its bridge. 

If you want more epic, Lorraine Ellison’s “Stay With Me Baby,” done here with a souped-up organ whirring below him, allows Cornell to dip, dive, swoop, and soar without screeching. This is the true high point of the package, and one familiar to those (few) fans of Martin Scorsese’s HBO show Vinyl. If you want another epic with a sympathetic horn line, “You Don’t Know Nothing About Love” from songwriter/producer Jerry Ragovoy and nearly forgotten R&B vocalist Carl Hall—is Cornell’s passionate passageway into ragged vocal display.

Ragovoy and Mort Shuman’s bluesy “Get It While You Can,” scuffed up and scowled over by Janis Joplin, is made into a synth-pop track for Cornell to do his own gruff and soulful thing over. Same with Jeff Lynne’s slick, bluesy “Showdown.” Cornell and his band give the track an electro sheen and rhythmic tick, along with some noisy guitar. With so many colours and moods for Cornell to rise through, it’s such a damned shame he didn’t stick around to see this arc of his life, particulary this chapter and verse of his career.

Marika Hackman Covers

Marika Hackman returns with an album “Covers”, a darkly beautiful, self-produced new album which showcases a more vulnerable side, available on November 13th. Accompanying the news, Marika has shared her version of Grimes’ single “Realiti” plus details of a NoonChorus live stream with her full band that will take place on album release day.

During the extended stay-at-home order of the last few months, Marika felt that creating a covers record was a way of exploring new sound ideas and expressing herself without having the pressure of the blank page. She recorded and produced “Covers” between home and her parents’ house, then got the legendary David Wrench (Frank Ocean, The xx, Let’s Eat Grandma) to mix it. David also co-produced her excellent 2019 record Any Human Friend. In contrast to her last two albums (including 2017’s I’m Not Your Man), this collection of songs is more akin in tone and feel to her debut We Slept At Last, with a darker and more introspective sound.

On Covers, we hear Marika’s emotive voice set against sparse arrangements of guitars and strings with the occasional synth or scattered drum groove. Breathing new life into the songs she’s chosen, Marika reimagines work by some of the world’s most beloved artists such as Radiohead, Grimes and Elliott Smith. It’s a suitably varied collection, but Marika’s intimate delivery and soft, nuanced and atmospheric touch to production, thread them all together effortlessly. Marika explains how she came to choose the material: “When it comes to covers, I like to pick songs which I have been listening to obsessively for a while. It gives me a natural understanding of the music, and lets me be more innovative with how I transform it.”

First single “Realiti” is a stripped back piano and guitar based version of the Grimes classic from her most celebrated album Art Angels. Marika’s take is a total reinvention and yet it feels wholly her own. Muna’s “Pink Light” from their 2019 record Saves The World is a slice of dark pop, reminiscent of The Cure. In Marika’s hands, it’s a remarkably seamless switch-up to convert these into slower, brooding soft jams. Marika’s version of Air’s “Playground Love” is one of the highlights, taken from the soundtrack the group composed for Sofia Coppola’s coming of age The Virgin Suicides, the result being a moodier, disorientating reworking of a classic modern moment.

Final track “All Night” sees Marika tackling one of the standouts from Beyonce’s Grammy-nominated Lemonade. Again, Marika flips the song on its head. Joined by a choir of stacked vocal harmonies, Marika’s voice transcends to conjure a deep emotional resonance. Adventurous and versatile, Covers continues Marika’s lineage in turning each body of work into a new take and perspective on her creative vision. She twists and turns, always surprises, and is never afraid to wear her heart on her sleeve. It remains anyone’s guess to imagine where she will head next.

Tickets are for a NoonChorus performance on Friday, November 13th at 6pm PST / 9pm EST. A viewing code will be sent to you from Noonchorus (help@noonchorus.com) with seven days to go to the show, and emailed again with a reminder on the day of the show. If you haven’t received your code in the 48 hours before the show, please contact help@noonchorus.com. The tickets and bundles will only be available here until Friday 6th November, after which tickets for the livestream will exclusively be available from noonchorus.com

In the off chance you haven’t given her “Realiti” cover a listen, here’s what you’re missing: “… a new take on ‘Realiti’ by Grimes, inverting Claire Boucher’s electronic template for some introspective acoustic balladry.” Clash

“Grimes gets the ethereal folk treatment with Hackman’s contemplative, beautiful version of ‘Realiti’,” – Gigwise

During the extended stay-at-home order of the last few months, Marika Hackman felt that creating a covers record was a way of exploring new sound ideas and expressing herself without having the pressure of the blank page. She recorded and produced “Covers” between home and her parents’ house, then got the legendary David Wrench (Frank Ocean, The xx, Let’s Eat Grandma) to mix it. David also co-produced her excellent 2019 record Any Human Friend. In contrast to her last two albums (including 2017’s I’m Not Your Man), this collection of songs is more akin in tone and feel to her debut We Slept At Last, with a darker and more introspective sound. On Covers, we hear Marika’s emotive voice set against sparse arrangements of guitars and strings with the occasional synth or scattered drum groove.

Breathing new life into the songs she’s chosen, Marika reimagines work by some of the world’s most beloved artists such as Radiohead, Grimes and Elliott Smith. It’s a suitably varied collection, but Marika’s intimate delivery and soft, nuanced and atmospheric touch to production, thread them all together effortlessly.

Marika explains how she came to choose the material: “When it comes to covers, I like to pick songs which I have been listening to obsessively for a while. It gives me a natural understanding of the music, and lets me be more innovative with how I transform it.”

First single “Realiti” is a stripped back piano and guitar based version of the Grimes classic from her most celebrated album Art Angels. Marika’s take is a total reinvention and yet it feels wholly her own. Muna’s “Pink Light” from their 2019 record Saves The World is a slice of dark pop, reminiscent of The Cure. In Marika’s hands, it’s a remarkably seamless switch-up to convert these into slower, brooding soft jams. Marika’s version of Air’s “Playground Love” is one of the highlights, taken from the soundtrack the group composed for Sofia Coppola’s coming of age The Virgin Suicides, the result being a moodier, disorientating reworking of a classic modern moment.

Final track “All Night” sees Marika tackling one of the standouts from Beyonce’s Grammy-nominated Lemonade. Again, Marika flips the song on its head. Joined by a choir of stacked vocal harmonies, Marika’s voice transcends to conjure a deep emotional resonance.

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Adventurous and versatile, Covers continues Marika’s lineage in turning each body of work into a new take and perspective on her creative vision. She twists and turns, always surprises, and is never afraid to wear her heart on her sleeve. It remains anyone’s guess to imagine where she will head next.

Releases November 13th, 2020

2020 Sub Pop Records

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In March 2020, the Nashville-based artist experienced the devastating tornado that tore through much of East Nashville, followed by the global pandemic. Tuttle, who grew up in California and has toured as a solo artist for years, suddenly found herself—along with the rest of the musician community—sheltering at home. She found solace in revisiting favourite songs from throughout her life in an attempt to “remind myself why I love music.” She conceptualized an idea for a record with renowned LA producer Tony Berg (Phoebe Bridgers, Andrew Bird) to be recorded over 2,000 miles apart.

Molly Tuttle’s new covers album, “But I’d Rather Be With You”, is out August 28th and has her taking on songs by The National, Arthur Russell, Karen Dalton, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Harry Styles, Cat Stevens and more. Here’s her cover of Rancid’s “Olympia, Washington,” which she’s reworked into a twangy rocker. “I used to listen to Rancid and Operation Ivy all the time as an angsty 7th grader, and a couple of friends and I spent many hours learning their songs to perform at our school concerts,” says Tuttle. “Years later, I still love these songs!! When I played a show in Olympia, WA last fall this song was stuck in my head all day so we learned it at sound check and played it in the show. Then in December I showed it to Ketch Secor and we played it on our duo tour — he also sang harmony on this track and sounds terrific.

This song is so good and just makes me super happy for unexplainable reasons.”

From Molly Tuttle’s upcoming covers album “…But I’d Rather Be With You” available August 28th, 2020.

Luke Sital-Singh is a prolific songwriter. Since 2012 he’s released three full length albums and six EPs, and there aren’t any signs of him taking his foot off the accelerator.

Having released his warmly received third album A Golden State last year, he’s continued along his fruitful journey with New Haze, which also happens to be his seventh EP in eight years.

To state the obvious 2016 has been a fairly quiet year for me. Well publicly anyway. Behind the scenes it’s been all about getting my second album sorted and building a new home for it’s release next year. I can’t wait for 2017 to get started so I can show you everything I’ve been working on. We note how rapidly he’s followed his latest album up with yet more EP, but Luke has no interest in slowing down. “Personally, I feel like it’s too slow,” he explains. “I’m of these two minds where I’m going back to the kind of Patreon model and doing something each month, you know, just chucking stuff out there. There’s part of me that loves taking my sweet time and putting records out slowly, making sure they’re great, but it just doesn’t seem a tenable thing for much longer.

“The idea of making a record once a year to make ten or 12 songs shouldn’t really be that difficult,” he affirms. And in theory, he’s right. As a professional musician, what is there to stand in your way other than the music itself?

But as with many of his contemporaries, the old adage of the traditional recording industry is quickly becoming irrelevant and, in some cases, almost detrimental to the singular goal of releasing music to fans. “The thing that’s frustrating about this industry itself, or at least if you’re doing it in a more traditional way, is all the other fluff around it, like setting up the marketing and making sure that the press has it at the right time. That’s what tends to delay things,” he says. Indeed, despite releasing his debut album on Parlophone in 2014, Sital-Singh has stayed loyal to independent record labels and focussed almost entirely on output, rather than pandering to old fashioned release cycles. “If you want to be cynical about it and you look at some of the stats on Spotify – people barely keep streaming until the end [of an album], they listen to four or five tracks and they move on. So, you start to think ‘Should I just do EPs? What’s the point in doing records?’ And then you go, ‘Oh yeah, but no one will write about it if it’s not a record!’”

On New Haze, the Londoner-via-LA has come full circle. Whereas A Golden State was recorded at Jackpot Studios in Portland, Oregon – famously set up by Elliott Smith and utilised by the likes of REM and The Decemberists – and produced Tommy McLaughlin to create a “big and warming” album, using vintage ribbon mics and old Harmony acoustics, this new quartet of songs echoes the approach heard on his early Fail For You and Tornados EPs.

As a little teaser,  I’ve released two new cover recordings today. They are covers of two of my favourite songs – This Woman’s Work by Kate Bush and American Girl by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.

Chrissie Hynde (L) and James Walbourne from The Pretenders on stage at OverOslo on June 21, 2019 in Oslo, Norway.

When Chrissie Hynde heard Bob Dylan’s “Murder Most Foul,” the 17-minute elegy he had recorded about John F. Kennedy and surprise-released in late March, she was caught by surprise. “It really knocked me sideways,” she says “It’s so magnificent.”

Like everyone, she was in what she describes as an “odd frame of mind” due to the pandemic-related lockdowns that had gone into effect a few weeks earlier. So with no outside distractions, the song teleported her back to her youth. “It brought back my whole childhood and my past,” she says. “I remembered exactly where I was sitting in the sixth grade at my desk when the news [of JFK’s assassination] came over the Tannoy [P.A.] system. Then I was thinking about Bob and how significant he’s been throughout my lifetime — and everyone’s lives. I’ve gone to see shows of his and there are grown men, older than me, standing up, like, in tears just because he’s there.”

I was so buoyed up by the new Dylan songs that I talked to Pretenders Guitar playing hot-shot James Walbourne and we decided it’s a good time to do those Dylan songs we’ve always talked about doing. Every singer-songwriter in the world covers the master’s songs and there is an endless supply of them. So we’ve started, and will do one a week until lockdown ends. The First one is off the “Shot of Love” album, “In The Summertime”. We did it from home on our phones. I did the rhythm – sent it to James, he added guitar , sent it back to me, I then put on the vocal , sent it back to him, he put on some back up vocals and organ, then we sent it to Tchad Blake to tidy up. I know you don’t need the behind the scenes details so I won’t repeat myself on the next one. xch

Hynde had planned on hitting the road this spring with the Pretenders, in support of their hard-hitting new album, Hate for Sale, but now she had an empty diary. She’d seen Dylan live a few times with the band’s lead guitarist, James Walbourne, and had remarked to him she would love to cover some Dylan songs.

Hynde and Walbourne released the first installment of what they dubbed their “Dylan Lockdown Series,” “In the Summertime.” Dylan’s version of the track, which appeared on his 1981 LP Shot of Love, was a mid-tempo, harmonica-soaked nostalgia piece. Hynde and Walbourne toughened it up a little with some forceful acoustic guitar, a lusher chorus, and an organ replacing some of the harmonica, as she hung onto his words to fit them to her voice. “I sent James a rhythm track on my phone, he added to it, and I put a vocal to it,” she says, explaining their quarantine-era methodology. “Then we sent it to [engineer] Tchad Blake, who is out in the wilds of Wales, to mix it. I love working with him.”

I was so buoyed up by the new Dylan songs that I talked to Pretenders Guitar playing hot-shot James Walbourne and we decided it’s a good time to do those Dylan songs we’ve always talked about doing. Every singer-songwriter in the world covers the master’s songs and there is an endless supply of them. So we’ve started, and will do one a week until lockdown ends. – chx

The third in the Dylan Lockdown Series: James & Chrissie’s reading of ‘Standing In The Doorway’ taken from the “Time Out Of Mind”, great album. After she was pleased with the finished product, she started picking more songs. They made Blood on the Tracks’ “You’re a Big Girl Now”sound a little more country and contemplative. They took the gospel-tingedTime Out of Mind number“Standing in the Doorway” and opened the windows on it, making it into something more uplifting. And they interpreted the gentle“Sweetheart Like You,”from Infidels— the album Dylan was touring on when Hynde joined him at Wembley — and made it sound sparse, with just guitar, piano, and Hynde’s voice.

The fourth in the Dylan lockdown series: Chrissie and James’ tender cover of Bob Dylan’s “Sweetheart Like You”

Number 5 of the Dylan Lockdown series: Chrissie and James’ cover of Bob Dylan’s Blind Willie McTell “Blind Willie McTell” is a song titled after the Piedmont blues and ragtime singer / guitarist Blind Willie McTell. It was recorded in the spring of 1983, during the sessions for Dylan’s album Infidels, but was left off the album and officially released only in 1991 on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961–1991. “I just love always discovering new Dylan stuff and discovering old albums,” Walbourne says, on a break from learning the chords to the Infidels-era outtake “Blind Willie McTell” on the piano. “When I saw Martin Scorsese’s Rolling Thunder doc on Netflix, I had no idea [Dylan] was that crazy during that time.”

CHRISSIE HYNDE & JAMES WALBOUNE – DYLAN LOCKDOWN SERIES NO.6: LOVE MINUS ZERO

Hynde and Walbourne uploaded the final entry in their Dylan Lockdown Series, their rendition of “Tomorrow Is a Long Time,” a quiet acoustic folk number that debuted on Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits, Vol. 2. Hynde and Walbourne kept it acoustic but made it more upbeat with organ and plinking cymbals, even when she sings, “If tomorrow wasn’t such a long time, then lonesome would mean nothing to you at all.” You can hear both her deference to Dylan and how the song is personal enough that she feels comfortable making it her own.

“Everyone goes back a long way with him because everyone has their own personal history [with his songs],” she says. “In his case, it’s very personal, because his songs are so personal. People who are fans of his really are fans. He’s not a lightweight; he’s a heavyweight. He’s been there for a longtime with us, so he’s seen us through many things, and we’ve seen him through.”

She pauses and considers just what it has meant to her to sing these songs. “It sounds like it’d be so easy, but first of all, you’re trying not to sing them the way you’ve heard them over the years because you get locked into that,” she says. “You can’t consciously sing them differently, so you just have to find your own thing. So it’s been an interesting and a fun thing to do. I’m very grateful to have the time to do this, because otherwise I’d be on a tour bus right now.”

she realized that now was the perfect time to pay tribute to a man who had inspired her for most of her life. She had grown up with Dylan’s music and has had the opportunity to pay tribute to him in the past — she joined him at Wembley Stadium for renditions of “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” and “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” in 1984, and she sang a stunning rendition of “I Shall Be Released” to him at his 1992 30th anniversary concert — but she has long wanted to do more. “Any singer-songwriter would like to do every Bob Dylan song they can get their hands on, and there’s thousands to choose from,” she says.

With a catalogue like Dylan’s, there’s so much there,” Hynde says. “I mean, I’m not one of these Dylan … … what do they call them … ‘Dylanologists’ to get on chat lines and discuss every lyric and everything. Although why not? But you know, I’m not into it from an academic, intellectual point of view. I wouldn’t take it in a college course. But if there’s songs I’ve lived through, such as when ‘Like A Rollin’ Stone’ and [similar songs] came on the radio back in the Sixties, they really changed the way songwriting was across the board. Probably even James Brown was affected by him; he started writing songs like ‘The Big Payback.’ And, I mean, Hendrix. Anyway, and so there’s this huge catalogue and you can dip in if you want.” She waits a beat. “And I want.”

That said, she admits that Dylanologists have been keeping her on her toes. “You don’t want to fuck up a Dylan song and have thousands of Dylanologists gunning for you,” she says. When she covered “Sweetheart Like You,” she struggled a little with how she wanted to sing some of Dylan’s words.

“These days, you don’t have to change the gender of a lyric because it doesn’t matter anymore,” Hynde says. “That was always a problem in the past, since sometimes it kind of compromises the song. Like if it didn’t sound right to change, ‘She loves me’ to ‘He loves me,’ let’s say. These days, you can do anything.

“But there was one second verse in ‘What’s a Sweetheart Like You’ that said, ‘She used to call me sweet daddy when I was only a child,’ and I thought ‘That’s gonna be really awkward,’” she continues. “I couldn’t figure out how to make that mine. So I went through the archives of different versions he’s done and found a Spanish translation that had a different verse, so I just used that one. I mean, he sang it in English, maybe it wasn’t the official, and then I thought, ‘Oh, these guys are gonna come after me now and say, “That’s not what he wrote.”‘ But it is what he wrote.”

The Chicago euphoric country soul outfit return to pay homage to Labi Siffre, Brian Eno, John Denver, Kelela & others. Whitney was born from a series of laidback early-morning song-writing sessions during one of the harshest winters in Chicago history, after Julien Ehrlich and Max Kakacek (former members of Smith Westerns) reconnected – first as roommates splitting rent in a small Chicago apartment and later as musical collaborators passing the guitar and the lyrics sheet back and forth. 

Back in February we got the whole band together in Chicago with the idea of recording 2-3 covers to share throughout 2020. Those 2-3 tracks turned into a 10 song cover album called “Candid” out August 14th. Along with this announcement we’re releasing our cover of “Hammond Song” By The Roches. We hope you enjoy it. Stay safe and please continue to remain active and committed to the Black Lives Matter Movement.

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Covers have long been an integral part of Whitney’s ethos. Ever since the band first formed in 2014, tackling songs by the Everly Brothers, Allen Toussaint, and more played an important part in the breakthrough 2016 debut ​Light Upon The Lake​. Since then, their takes on NRBQ’s Magnet and Neil Young’s On the Way Home have become live staples, an essential and communal part of their sets. Their love for the music that makes up their deepest influences has always been genuine and tangible.

Following their acclaimed sophomore 2019 album ​Forever Turned Around​, Whitney have decided to return with a loving tribute to songs that have been formative and lasting to the entire band. ​Ca​ndid​is a 10-song collection boasting covers of artists like Kelela, David Byrne, John Denver,​ SWV​, and others but it’s also a band challenging themselves to explore more than their musical comfort zone. Recorded in January and February of 2020 over multiple sessions at Treehouse Studios in Chicago and ​Flora Recording and Playback in Portland​, ​”Candid” f​inally sees the full touring band in a recording studio together.  Whitney has brought their cinematic sound to The Roches’ “Hammond Song.” Whitney’s sound can best be described by the feeling of nostalgia. It makes you long for that one summer and for a sun-drenched drive. If you haven’t had the pleasure of hearing the beautiful harmonies of the original song, be sure to check it out as well!/

Their chemistry exudes throughout the tracklist but it’s especially apparent when they open up the dynamic to their friends, like Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee joining John Denver’s Take Me Home, Country Roads. On the cover of the classic, Ehrlich and Crutchfield’s voices merge for a joyous harmony over the chorus. Over eight days at Treehouse Studios, the band would show up in the morning, learn a song together, and choose an instrument, leading to a freewheeling and adventurous atmosphere. Their renditions of SWV’s ’90s R&B heater Rain or David Byrne and Brian Eno’s 2008 track Strange Overtones prove this, as they stretch Whitney into new musical directions.

At its core, Candid i​s a celebration of both the songs Whitney has adored throughout its formation and the band’s evolving bond through years of relentless touring and an enduring friendship.

Releases August 14th, 2020

Sc409.whitney.candid.lp.blue.nopin

 


J. ERIC SMITH

Slow molasses drip under a tipped-up crescent moon.

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