Posts Tagged ‘Margo Price’

Friday night, while scrolling through my iPhone’s Photo Library, I came across ancient family photos that I imported via the Photomyne app while packing for our Big Move in late 2018. When used, taking a picture of a page in a photo album results in auto-cropped files for each photo thereon. The big plus: It’s faster and easier than the scanning process, as it only requires a click. It also, obviously, preserves the integrity of the album(s). The downside: The quality, as shown to the left (that’s me in the early 1970s), is nowhere near as good as a scan. As thumbnails, the photos of photos look okay – washed-out, but good enough to recall the moment in time. Up close, however, they’re somewhat blotchy and pixelated.

Cover songs work in similar fashion. At their best, they’re metaphoric pipelines to and from the collective unconscious, shedding insights not just into the singer and song, but all who have braved the same musical journey. At their worst, they’re little more than carbon copies of the original, somewhat faded and hard to hear, but enjoyable nonetheless.

And, with that out of the way, here’s Today’s Top 5: Cover Songs, Vol. 55…

1) Courtney Marie Andrews – “One of These Days.” This Neil Young song (originally from Harvest Moon) is obviously dear to CMA’s heart, as she’s covered it before.

2) Phoebe Bridgers – “If We Make It Through December.” So, a few years back, I compiled a list of songs Courtney Marie should cover… and this Merle Haggard song was one of them. To my ears and heart, it’s one of the greatest songs written about making it through tough times – and Bridgers does it justice.

3) Malin Pettersen and Darling West – “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” This is a haunting beautiful rendition of a song that is, itself, hauntingly beautiful.

4) Margo Price – “River.” Who hasn’t covered this non-Christmas song? Yet when it’s done right, as it is by Ms. Price, who can complain? The heart aches while listening to it.

5) Molly Tuttle – “White Rabbit.” Molly boards the Jefferson Airplane for a flight high above the clouds with this very cool rendition of a Summer of Love standard.

And one bonus…

Scary Pockets featuring Rett Madison – “I’m on Fire.” I’m somewhat over covers of this Boss tune, as the Staves’ rendition from a few years back sort of made all others moot. But this kind of redraws the blueprint. (Rett, by the way, is an up-and-coming L.A.-based singer-songwriter – her recent single, “Kerosene,” absolutely smokes; and Scary Pockets is a funk band with a knack for cool covers.)

 

On July 12, 2014, aka six years ago today as I write, I launched this blog on wordpress.com with a review of a Natalie Merchant concert. It followed a two-post flirtation with another blog-hosting service; occasional missives on the Hatboro-Horsham Patch from February 2012 through June 2014; and, from 1997 to 2006, the original Old Grey Cat website. (I delve into those halcyon days here.)

Visitors and views have increased every year since 2014 and, no doubt due to the pandemic keeping folks home and bored, exploded these past few months. 

For those who have recently stumbled upon this blog: As the tagline up above indicates, it celebrates music, shares memories and digs into other stuff – such as TV shows, movies, history and even, on occasion, the spacetime and multiverse theories. I don’t subscribe to the notion that art exists in a vacuum; once it enters the world, it takes on a life of its own, with the viewer’s or listener’s own experiences adding to or subtracting from its power and beauty. That’s why I often expand the lens to include reflections on my life past and present.

I’m also not in the shut-up-and-sing camp; I sometimes share oblique (and not-so-oblique) commentaries on topics d’jour. However, since studies show that most folks confronted with facts that contradict their opinions tend to double down, I usually don’t see the point. (That said, the science is in: If you venture out, wear a mask.)

My most popular posts tend to be ones about Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Natalie Merchant and Juliana Hatfield, but I write about far more than just them. I’m a middle-aged white guy with catholic tastes, a product of my time but not a prisoner of it – especially when it comes to music. I like to look back and relive the glory days as much as the next old(er) guy or gal, but also thrive on digging into the new. In the weeks ahead, for example, I plan to write about new releases from Lianne La Havas, Courtney Marie Andrews and Natalie Duncan, celebrate the 50th anniversary re-issue of Roberta Flack’s First Take, relive John Mellencamp and Springsteen shows from 1992, and spotlight another Gladys Knight LP in my ongoing Essentials series.

I may or may not write about the new Margo Price album, That’s How Rumors Get Started. I’ve listened to it a few times since Friday, but don’t think I have anything unique to say about it beyond this: To my ears, it sounds more like a ‘70s-era singer-songwriter LP than a 2020 country set (and that’s not a knock). The powerful “Hey Child” would have fit on a Fleetwood Mac or Jackson Browne album, for instance, and the same holds true for the other songs.