There is no denying that some cover versions of songs are awful (think the busker on Belmont st. who plays ‘Wonderwall’ exclusively. Badly) and in some cases just plain redundant. However, when an artist brings their own personality and in some cases completely transforms the original song, the artist adds something to that song and can bring their influences to a much wider audience. ‘Cover Me’ is a feature I hope to make a weekly affair where I will upload tracks for your pleasure, which I feel belong in the latter category of cover versions. So, away we go…
Idiot Glee – ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ (Originally by Bill Withers)
Kentucky native James Friley recently released an ace debut Paddywhack under the moniker Idiot Glee which I urge you to check out, but before this he came to my attention with this ethereal cover of Bill Withers’ mournful howl of desire. Idiot Glee takes Withers’ sparse arrangement and transposes it to a more contemporary, electronic influenced musical territory. The cavernous echo and ghostly choir of Friley’s voice puts you directly in the shoes of the guy walking the empty rooms of his house where his lover once was, where the only sound to be heard are his own footsteps and voice reverberating back at him. This is soul, but not as you’d know it.
She & Him – ‘Lotta Love’ (Originally by Neil Young)
I am a big fan of the vocal dynamics of a male/female duo and in recent years She & Him, consisting of folk musician M. Ward and actress Zooey Deschanel, have been filling that hunger with their brand of sugar-sweet folk pop goodness. This cover of a fairly obscure Neil Young track was released as a B-side accompanying their debut single ‘Why Do You Let Me Stay Here’, and on hearing it for the first time it took my breath away. It’s a beautiful, melancholic ditty and She & Him’s simple arrangement of intertwining vocal harmonies centring around mellow acoustic guitar really brings out the earnest sentiment behind the song: ‘My heart needs protection, so do I’