If the last few weeks have been any indication, winter seems to be the season for cover songs. Between The Flaming Lips, The Joy Formidable, Ke$ha and more, there hasn’t been any shortage of classics getting a new lease on life. Beck‘s new cover of John Lennon‘s “Love” only cements that tradition. Made for Starbucks’ fifth compilation album, Sweetheart 2014, “Love,” originally from Lennon’s 1970 Plastic Ono Band album, sits alongside tracks by Vampire Weekend, Thao, The Head and The Heart, and many more in an easy listening covers paradise. Check out the new song, along with the track listing below, and pick up Sweetheart 2014 beginning Feb. 4. (more…)
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The headliners at this year’s FloydFest”including Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas, Ricky Skaggs, Brandi Carlile, and the Drive-By Truckers”were as amazing as you’d expect from internationally known and much-lauded musicians. But the real treat at the 11th Annual FloydFest, a four-day world music festival in Floyd, Virg., was arguably the array of up-and-coming artists certain to burst into prominence not too far into the future.
Amber Rubarth was clearly at the front of that line. Perhaps that’s not surprising when you consider she’s a fixture on New York’s indie scene and has won such accolades as the Grand Prize in NPR’s Mountain Stage New Song Contest. Her recent album A Common Case of Disappearing, which features duets with Jason Reeves and Jason Mraz, debuted at No. 13 on iTunes. Watching her spin her musical web of alt-country, folk tunes on various stages at FloydFest, one couldn’t help but be struck by her poise and warmth, which translated into her music.
“I was really shy growing up,” said Amberth when discussing her set. “Music gave me the outlet to be able to get out my feelings and get out things I wanted to say that were more personal, even if I couldn’t say it in a conversation. It’s really powerful for me. It’s a way of healing, releasing, really.”
Those feelings translated to the audience, too, when Rubarth joined the Ivy League Hillbillies set that had nine up-and-coming musicians on stage and when she played her own sets”including a brand new song “The Maiden and the Ram,” that got the audience dancing.
There’s something exciting about discovering an artist who not only records fantastic music, but can also perfectly duplicate their music onstage. In this auto-tune age, an artist who can rock just as hard every night in front of hundreds, sometimes thousands of fans as they do the studio”where they have multiple takes to nail that high note”is a rarity. That’s why I continue to go to live shows. Enduring all the mediocre acts is really worth it when you finally come across an exceptional talent. Vocally, I’ve always been blown away by James Taylor‘s live performance and how well he re-creates his sound live. His gentle and soothing voice translates perfectly to live performance, he is a master at utilizing the tone of his voice to mesh, but also to contrast his simple arrangements. His low-key delivery is able to captivate his audience and get them intertwined in his magnificent stories.
The New Orleans native who is a multi-instrumentalist with the Old Crow Medicine Show has clearly traveled a long way since his days as a busker in the Crescent City. This sonic ode to the city and the tour he’s taken to support it shows that despite his success, his musical heart is still there.
“I wanted it to be dirty,” said Landry of his hopes for the album that is named after two streets that run parallel through the city’s ninth ward. “I wanted to have the grit of the old records I love and to fit the language of the writing that is pretty in its own way.”
The way of which he speaks is to find beauty in some of what many might consider the darker sides of New Orleans such as the barmaids, merchants and thieves that inhabit the city’s famed French Quarter.
To make the musical vision come alive, Landry worked with the Felice Brothers as his musical accompanists and co-producers. He also enlisted a cast of folk, pop and country artists including Jolie Holland, Brandi Carlile, Ketch Secor, and Samantha Parton to guest on the album. Basically, Landry credits something akin to stars aligning for the good fortune in bringing such an array of talent together, starting with the famed Felice Brothers.
“When they asked if I wanted to come up to New York State, I said sure right away,” said Landry. “That just lined up perfectly. I didn’t even think twice about it. Once they [invited me to come work in their studio] I knew how the record would be made.”
Since the famed Old Crow Medicine Show was on a break, the timing was perfect for Landry to dig into his songs and create the album.