Taking a step away from our usual habit of spotlighting songwriters in this monthly feature, I thought I would showcase some recent badass covers for September’s edition. Largely focusing on country and Americana artists covering some classic songs, I hope this provides a great soundtrack to your Monday and beyond! Thanks to a number of friends and Twitter followers for some of these selections.
Lindi Ortega ‘Jolene’ & ‘To Love Somebody’
Lindi Ortega covering Dolly Parton’s classic ‘Jolene’ and the Bee Gees’ ‘To Love Somebody’ (which is on her latest album ‘Faded Gloryville’). Enough said.
Gretchen Peters ‘Nashville’
For her latest album ‘Blackbirds’, Gretchen Peters covered David Mead’s song ‘Nashville’, which also happens to be one of my favorite songs of all time. Her version is incredible.
Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires ‘Mutineer’
Jason Isbell’s brand new album ‘Something More Than Free’ is pretty epic, but he and wife Amanda Shires have also recorded a plethora of amazing covers in the past few years. Check out their cover of Warren Zevon’s ‘Mutineer’.
Leonard Cohen ‘Choices’
Leonard Cohen recently released a new live album titled ‘Can’t Forget: A Souvenir of The Grand Tour’, and one of the tracks on the record is the George Jones cover ‘Choices’. It’s pretty awesome.
Allison Moorer ‘Have You Ever Seen The Rain’
As part of her newest album ‘Down To Believing’, released earlier this year, Allison Moorer recorded a cover of John Fogerty’s ‘Have You Ever Seen The Rain’. Her voice suits it perfectly!
Dolly Parton ‘Don’t Think Twice’
This wouldn’t be an “awesome covers” list without the Queen of Covers, Dolly Parton (okay, I might be a bit biased). She’s covered a few Bob Dylan songs in the past (see 2005’s rendition of ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’ with Nickel Creek), and she added to that last year with a bluegrass version of ‘Don’t Think Twice’ (which Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard also covered on their latest album ‘Django & Jimmie’). When I saw her in concert in June 2014, she said she’d love to record an entire album of Bob Dylan covers someday. Fingers double crossed for that one!
Sturgill Simpson ‘The Promise’
Most of you are probably familiar with Sturgill Simpson’s cover of British new wave band When In Rome’s 1987 hit ‘The Promise’, but I’m going to include it anyway because well, why not?
Zac Brown Band ‘Dress Blues’
When Zac Brown Band released their sonically multi-polar album ‘Jekyll + Hyde’ last April, there was a lot to talk about. But one of the album’s understated crowning jewels is their cover of Jason Isbell’s ‘Dress Blues’, a track which suits them down to the ground as much as their version still echoes Isbell.
Kacey Musgraves ‘Are You Sure’
There’s a hidden track at the very end of Kacey Musgraves’ sophomore album ‘Pageant Material’, and it’s one of my favorite Easter Eggs of recent years. The track is a cover of Willie Nelson’s 1965 song ‘Are You Sure’ and features, you guessed it, Nelson himself on duet vocals. What a great pairing.
Kelly Clarkson ‘Girl Crush’
Okay, so Kelly Clarkson is not strictly country, but she has dabbled, and the song she’s covering here is a country song. Mrs Blackstock has a habit of covering a wide variety of hits in concert, and back last November she performed an excellent rendition of Little Big Town’s ‘Girl Crush’ that finds her building on the bluesiness of it. I know we’ve heard a lot of this song, but this cover is worth it.