Saturday, March 3, 2012

Aoife Covers Nebraska

If you've been to this blog before, you know that I think Aoife O'Donovan is one of the world's great singers. Currently on hiatus from her band Crooked Still, she is on tour solo as the opening act for bluegrass wunderkinds the Punch Brothers--see the dates here. On that tour, she has been performing a brilliant cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Atlantic City." In fact, last fall she played a one-off show where she covered the whole Nebraska album. From No Depression:

You recently did a month-long residency at Rockwood Music Hall in NYC. I specifically wanted to ask you how you chose to cover Bruce Spingsteen's Nebraska. Can you discuss what drew to that album, it's lasting power for you, and what inspired you to take it on?

Aoife: That week was the ONE week I didn’t have my band (Jake Silver on bass, Ryan Scott on guitar, and Robin MacMillan on drums), and I wanted to do something different. I love Nebraska. All of the songs tell a different story, but there is a common theme of loneliness and desperation that is timeless.  Learning all of those tunes on the guitar, and memorizing the words was a challenge, but I’m SO glad I did it. "Open All Night" was my favorite one to perform… I think it will all be on Youtube soon. 

Well, it hasn't shown up on You Tube yet, but here are a couple of Aoife's Nebraska covers for your delectation.

Nebraska - Aoife and the Boys (1-6-11, Front Hall)

Atlantic City - Aoife O'Donovan (2-23-12, Somerville Theatre)

If you have a chance to see her, don't miss it.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Emmylou and Lanois vs. Leonard and Dylan

I have been hunting for Daniel Lanois' arrangement of Leonard Cohen's "Stranger Song," sung by Emmylou Harris, for a long time. They did it at least twice, while promoting the Sling Blade soundtrack in 1997. The version below comes from an appearance on KCRW's "Morning Becomes Eclectic" on April 9, 1997. Unfortunately, it is a capture from a relatively poor stream, so the quality is nothing to get excited about. The performance, on the other hand, is something to get excited about. The other performance came later that evening, at a performance at a local record store. If anyone has a better sounding copy of either version, drop me a line.

I've also attached an unreleased, alternate version of Emmylou's sublime version of Bob Dylan's "Every Grain of Sand," from the Lanois-produced Wrecking Ball sessions.

Two great songs, one great singer, one great producer.

Stranger Song - Emmylou Harris and Daniel Lanois

Every Grain of Sand - Emmylou Harris and Daniel Lanois