In the Distance, Oblivious Playlist
Eleven Musical Distractions

 

 


August 2022
Manchester Sky

 

 

 

 

Welcome to our August themed playlist. This month: Covers! Take a good song, make into something new! Here are eleven of our favorite unconventional cover songs. As always, quotes are from song lyrics:

  1. "Please could you stop the noise? I'm trying to get some rest"

    Starting our covers playlist off right, Sia takes the Radiohead classic, turns it on its head, while still retaining the angst of the original. This is what covers are supposed to be.

  2. "With the headlights pointed at the dawn, we were sure we'd never see an end to it all"

    Darlingside returns for their second visit to our playlist with this smart Smashing Pumpkins cover. They always bring charm and energy to everything they do.

  3. "I look at her and I see the beauty of the light of music"

    Long time playlist followers are probably aware of our love for Redbird, the mid-aughts trio of Kris Delmhorst, Jeffrey Foucault and Peter Mulvey. They did quite a few impressive covers, and it was hard to pick a favorite. I picked their version of R.E.M.'s "You Are the Everything" because Foucault (with Delmhorst's delicate harmonies) hits the nail on this song's head so much better than Michael Stipe ever did.

  4. "Somebody said you disappeared in the crowd, I didn't understand then, I don't understand now"

    There are so many great bands and artists out there, and among the many that I'm sad we haven't yet included in the playlist is The National. Maybe the next best thing is The Lone Bellow covering their "Pink Rabbits". This live version is just stunning!

  5. "I watched you suffer a dull aching pain, now you've decided to show me the same"

    I am so happy to have Old & In The Way in our playlist! You start with Bill Monroe protege Peter Rowan on guitar, add the jazz-influenced mandolin of David Grisman, throw in fiddle impresario Vassar Clements, then bring in some dude named Jerry Garcia to play banjo... and with John Kahn on bass, you've got a serious cover band right there. More of a live act, this collection of musical pioneers played a bunch of gigs in 1973, disbanded the following year without ever showing much interest in recording. An album came out later with songs from some of their shows, but this was basically just a bunch of friends playing music together because it was fun. Clements' fiddle on The Rolling Stones "Wild Horses" is sublime.

  6. "Oh no, I didn't want to hurt you, I'm just a jealous guy"

    Donny Hathaway is also back for his second visit. I honestly never liked John Lennon's "Jealous Guy", but as one YouTube commenter noted "Donny Hathaway could sing a diner menu and it would still kill". We think a good number of our finds this month are better than their original versions, and this one leads the list for me.

  7. "What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you, but I know it's mine"

    Let's make one thing clear. You simply can not make a playlist of great covers without this song. We went into this with the definition that a great cover is taking a good song, and then making an entirely different statement out of it. For me, this might be the first truly great cover of our era. Don't believe me? Let me introduce you to nineteen-sixty-fuckin-eight!

    Side note. It's hard to even think about Joe Cocker without acknowledging a famous Cocker impersonator.

  8. "But until men lose their chains and righteousness reigns, Lord, protect my child"

    It speaks to the genius of Bob Dylan that you would never imagine him writing this song. Susan Tedeschi's soulful cover comes from her 2005 Hope and Desire album, and features husband Derek Trucks on dobro. She also shows off some guitar chops of her own in this 2005 Farm Aid version.

  9. "'Kathy,' I said as we boarded the Greyhound in Pittsburgh, 'Michigan seems like a dream to me now'"

    As if we didn't like this cover enough, did you know it was made for a benefit compilation called Good Music To Avert The Collapse Of American Democracy Vol. 2? Not gonna guarantee that this song will accomplish that, but Courtney Marie Andrews returns to the playlist, along with Liz Cooper and Molly Sarlé with this beautiful Simon and Garfunkel cover.

  10. "In the early morning rain with a dollar in my hand, and an aching in my heart and pockets full of sand"

    Le Ren is Montreal-based musician Lauren Spear. Buck Meek is the guitarist from Big Thief. Here they bring us this sweet cover of a songwriter's songwriter, Canada's Gordon Lightfoot.

  11. "Maybe you'll get a replacement, there's plenty like me to be found, mongrels who ain't got a penny, sniffing for tidbits like you on the ground"

    So what is it that makes a good cover? The pretty famous co-writer of this song said about this cover: "I've never heard anyone sing one of my songs like that, ever. When someone sings your songs, they usually copy you... and she made it her own."

    I remember one afternoon when I was about 13 or 14, over at a friend's house after school listening to LPs. As soon as the needle dropped, I could tell that this song was important somehow. You can make a strong case that Sarah Bareilles' fedora should be sent back to from whichever decade it was appropriated, but her voice... her voice is just ageless.

Wanna hear the original versions of these songs? We've got em for you!

 

 


For your listening pleasure, there's also a giant list with all 274 songs from all 26 months. Check out the ItD,O All Time Playlist,
as well as ItD,O Greatest Hits Volume 2, (our 11 best songs from our June '21 to April '22 playlists),
and ItD,O Greatest Hits Volume 1 (July '20 to May '21).