Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Good Cover

Typically, I will only write about theatre on this blog. But occasionally, don't be surprised if I vary a little. Today is going to be one of those days. I love music. Talent, I have not. But that doesn't stop me from having a love of music of all kinds. I wake up every day with a song in my head (no lie!). I am nearly attached to my mp3 player (ask my co-workers and friends). Perhaps that's why I love musicals so much?

I have always felt that music is a language that every one can speak. A story can be told. A heart touched. A change made. All because of a song. Many times I connect a song with a time or a specific person. There are even a few songs I can tell you where I was when I first heard them. Strange, probably. But that's just part of me.

"Rolling in the Deep" covered by Little Big Town
Growing up in Tennessee has given me a great love for country music. It often bothers me to hear people say bad things about such a beautiful form of art. Sure, there are types of music that I don't particularly care for, but I don't write everything in that genre off just because that's what it's "labeled" under.

If you looked at my mp3 player you could find a strangely wide variety of music. You'll find your typical Broadway cast recordings right next to Patsy Cline's Greatest Hits. Kings of Leon is next to Nickelcreek. Adele is there along with Green Day. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts with Nirvana. You name it, I've probably got it. And that's how I like it. Music can be a soundtrack to a day or a mood or it can be a motivator.

One thing that I really love is to see a group cover a song totally unrelated to their genre. Look at Glee. That show has made untold amounts of money basically covering songs by other people. And covering them well. One of my favorite times at a concert is when the band picks a song to cover.

I saw Miranda Lambert cover "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" by Creedence Clearwater Revival. It was fitting, seeing as it was an outdoor concert and it rained for the entire six hours I was there. I've seen Chris Daughtry & Kelly Clarkson cover "Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman and Chris cover "In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins. I saw Jason Aldean cover "Heaven" by Bryan Adams. I've seen Gretchen Wilson cover "Barracuda" by Heart. It's always fun to get a different spin on a song. It may not be better and it may not be worse. Sometimes it's just different.

"Sex on Fire" covered by Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland (Official Video)

A great album for cover songs is Sugarland's Live on the Inside. Most of the album is songs that they covered. It was actually through this album that I discovered, and fell in love with, Kings of Leon. Jennifer Nettles' version of "Sex on Fire" is almost unrecognizable as the same song that Kings of Leon did, but I discovered that it simply conveys a different feeling. The words are the same, but the feeling is totally different. On that same album, the group covered the B52's "Love Shack", Beyonce's "Irreplaceable" (which they later went on to perform on an awards show WITH Beyonce), & Pearl Jam's "Better Man", among others.

"Come on Eileen" covered by Sara Bareilles & Sugarland (by the band Dexy's Midnight Runners and also by Save Ferris)

"Grenade" covered by Little Big Town

Now the band Little Big Town (who I've seen in concert twice) has started an online video series called "Scattered, Smothered, Covered" (an ode to Waffle House's hash browns) where they cover songs by different artists. Some of them are AMAZING! "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele? Yes, please. "Grenade" by Bruno Mars...awesome. Even a little Gaga in the form of "Born This Way."

Have you ever heard a cover that just blew you away? What was it? I'm always up for discovering new music and music in old ways.

"Born This Way" covered by Little Big Town


  1. Hmmmm, I heard Sting do a cover of The Beatles "A Day in the Life". Awesome - but I don't know if that really counts as much since they both sing the same genre of music anyway. That's the first one that pops into my mind though.

    I confess, I'm much of a country music fan, but my parents are and I do like some songs and artists. My mom completely loves Randy Travis, and I like him too. And at my wedding, Dad and I danced our Father/Daughter dance to Don Williams. :)

  2. That totally counts Karen. :) It seems like all I listen to is country by this post, but I don't. They just seem to be some of the best covers I've ever heard. :)