This time I’ve selected some choice ingredients to showcase some excellent emerging songwriters, along with a few classics in the mix as well. This episode of our radio program is title Songwriting Seasonings and I have flavors in the realms of folk, rock, alt country, story-tellers, a blended psychedelic tune, and a new take on ska from a great new band. Fun, The Lighthouse and the Whaler, Jesse Thomas and a whole lot more. I have a culmination of folk and singer-songwriter flavors from old and new artists like Joshua James and Harry Chapin. You’ll be introduced to a brand new band called Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds with an album coming out soon titled Pound Of Dirt. Their style combines seasonings of rock, blues, jazz, and a sprinkle of ska. I also want to introduce you to another new band out of Australia called The Beards, and yes facial hair plays a large role in their act. They have 2 full-length albums out and a recently released single. What impresses me about their work is not just how stellar they are as musicians, but all of their songs have one theme-beards. As a man known for his facial hair, I have a respect for this kind of motif, if you will. Most of the time presented in humorous ways, they have a fun video you can view below. Also music from Iron & Wine’sKiss Each Other Clean release that takes his iconic folk-driven songwriting and adds layers of instrumentation that redefines his sound. Enjoy!
Real Good Hands (Radio Edit)/ Gregory Porter/Be Good
Another Ride/ Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds/ Pound Of Dirt (edited for radio)
Make It Rain (FCC radio edit)/Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds/Pound Of Dirt
Fire/Jesse Thomas/War Dancer
Under Mountain, Under Ground/The Lighthouse and the Whaler/The Lighthouse and the Whaler
Present For The End Of The World/Good Old War/Come Back As Rain
Calling Me Names/Good Old War/Come Back As Rain
Why Am I the One/Fun./Some Nights
(Though this is not the song featured in this week’s show, it was the song that introduced me to the band. A humorous track and an even funnier video. The videos for the songs featured weren’t as funny, hence not shown. But the music is solid!)
A Wizard Needs a Beard/The Beards/The Beards
Who Told You to Shave Off Your Beard?/The Beards/The Beards
Halfway to Heaven/Harry Chapin/Verities & Balderdash
Vacancy/Harry Chapin/Verities & Balderdash
Dangerous/Joshua James/The Sun Is Always Brighter (Deluxe Edition)
(And since our previous video was the subject of beards, here’s one of the best around)
Rabbit Will Run/Iron & Wine/Kiss Each Other Clean (Deluxe Version)
I love cover songs. There’s something brilliant about them when they’re done right. I should preface this by clarifying what a real cover song is to me, versus what is considered a cover song by many people. In my opinion and definition, a cover song is a reinterpretation of a track previously written and/or recorded by another artist. A cover song is not a tribute song, or the near-exact copy of the original song in the near-exact same style and instrumentation with a different vocalist. There are cover bands that do only cover songs, or mostly cover songs. Most of these acts put their own twist on the music they’re covering, but they add their own style or bit of creativity to reinterpret the original and make it their own in a particular way. Tribute bands are quite different. They really try to mirror nearly everything marketable and likeable about the original. Elvis tribute acts dress like Elvis with the clothing, hair, leg swings and so forth. They mimic the King’s style as much as they can because they are trying to be as close to the real thing as possible. There are countless tribute bands for any artist who has had success or prominence at one point or another from The Beatles to KISS (two of the biggest acts with countless tribute bands for them).
I’m not a fan of tribute bands. If I want Kiss, I’ll listen to KISS. The only way a tribute act is relevant in my world is if the original is deceased or no longer performing, then getting a show similar to the real thing might be worth it once in a while. But tribute bands and tribute songs are not covers. This is what separates a quality cover track from a nominal or ordinary cover song, and certainly what differentiates it from a tribute songs. Below are song videos of some of my favorite cover songs. You’ll notice that the artist covering the song has taken an original track and reinterpreted it into their distinct style or method. The lyrics are the only thing really comparable to the original. To me, it shows more respect to an artist to take an original work and do something with it that the original artist didn’t. It shows that the cover act saw the song having more than one way to play it, and that is a cool thing.
Enjoy these covers. I sure have!
Kina Grannis-White Winter Hymnal (Fleet Foxes Cover)
Lindbergh Palace-Wicked Game (Chris Isaak Cover)
Jackson Harris-Empire State Of Mind (Jay-Z Cover)
Horse Feathers-Drain You (Nirvana Cover)
Emm Gryner-Pour Some Sugar On Me (Def Leppard Cover)
Iron & Wine-One More Try (George Michael Cover) *personal favorite