Just like I”m doing with albums, I’m going to run a list that I update periodically throughout the year of the best cover song stuff from this year.
1. Carry Me Home by Mavis Staples and Levon Helm. A live album full of wonderful, modern and more classic spiritual tunes. Mavis is, as always, amazing. Note that one of the covers here is You Got to Move (originally by Mississippi Fred McDowell), which was also covered by The William Loveday Intention on the new (fantastic) album, Paralysed by the Mountains.
2. If You Gotta Go-Go, Go-Go Now: A Tribute To The Go-Go’s (2022). I love “Beauty and the Beat.” I love covers. So this album was made for me. The renditions–largely punk/indie rock–are true enough to be instantly recognizable but have enough twists to make them fun to listen to. And let’s face it: The Go-Go’s were a tremendously fun band.
3. In the Aftermath by Hollis Brown. The band covers one of the Rolling Stones’ earliest albums and does a great job at updating every single track.
4. Built 4 It by Tee Grizzley. This is by no means the first (and it won’t be the last) rap song to crib from Tupac’s “Changes,” but it’s one of the best.
5. One (U2) by Fontaines DC. I love Fontaines DC, and this cover is so different from the original.
6. Watertown by Frank Sinatra. Not a cover, a reissue–but it makes more sense to me to put old, remixed albums on the same list as covers than new, original 2022 music.
7. Wandering Spirit by Miranda Lambert. It was quite a shock to hear a 1980s Mick Jagger deep cut show up on Lambert’s most recent album. She does a great job with it–it’s better than the original!
8. You Are My Sunshine by Zach Bryan. Off American Heartbreak, a great record, Bryan reimagines Jimmie Davis’ classic song with his special brand of rugged sentimentality.
9. 1972 by Black Crowes. A brief EP of songs from that year. They did a great job with Rod Stewart’s “You Wear it Well.”
10. Remote Transmissions Volume 1 by Band of Heathens, including covers of Bob Seger, The Rolling Stones, and others. For me the best of the lot was Guy Clark’s, “L.A. Freeway.”
11. Stoned by Blackberry Smoke. Lots of Stones covers this year. This was another collection I enjoyed. Gov’t Mule released a live set of covers, too, but I didn’t like it enough to put it on my list.
12. Nothing else warranting end-of-year coverage….Yet.