Todd Snider is a great songwriter. Period. Up there with Tom T Hall, Townes Van Zandt and Randy Newman. It all starts with being a great story teller. That’s evident on all of his albums. His sense of humor is great too as you’ll find out when he introduces his set or tunes his strings. of But he can also do a great cover. This is just what a great cover is all about. Here’s Todd with “Fortunate Son” from Creedence Clearwater Revival.
It’s September 11th. For us Americans, many of us tell each other where we were when we got the news that the towers had been hit. “I was in class when someone got a text from their dad.” Or “I was at work when someone came in crying.” I remember that morning so vividly. That afternoon was one punch in the gut after another. And then night came and it seems to me that we all felt some sense of emptiness, whether we were with family or friends. There was still some level of emptiness that we could not shake in the still, quiet end of a horrifying nightmare of a day. What do we choose to fill that emptiness?
I’m a Christian, which is to say I’m a failed human in many respects. Revenge is a very human desire. I think every great human is good at revenge. But I’ve tried living by human standards and it has only led to misery and pain in the end. So I’ve surrendered my life to God’s ideas of what living in this world should mean. I’ve found that God prefers that He judge others, rather than have us humans running around the world and doling out judgment. If we’d leave it up to Him, how many more lives would have been spared on September 11th, 2001 and on every day since then? God’s not fair. He refuses to give me a pass to fill up emptiness with evil, even when it makes so much sense.
So here I sit a human and a Christian. So wanting revenge. And so wanting to be cleansed of the hatred I felt for others. What’s so funny about peace, love and understanding?
Sugarland is another country-pop band that makes me like them in spite of my cynicism towards Nashville’s current establishment. Kristian Bush, the male half of the duo, was a member of Billy Pilgrim which was a great acoustic rock male vocal duo in the 1990’s. So thank God that even if Billy Pilgrim didn’t make it, Kristian and his current cohorts still find a way to be awesome on occasion. Here’s a cover of the hauntingly beautiful R.E.M. song “Night Swimming.”
And yes, that is John Entwhistle on acoustic bass. In the mid-1990’s, I was very much into the Chieftains and Nanci Griffith but had only passing familiarity with The Who. Sad, huh? So the televised program “An Irish Evening” and the accompanying CD were staples that led to me really becoming a huge fan of the lads from Shepherd’s Bush, London.
Here’s a song you’d never expect to hear from John Bon Jovi, a reverential treatment of the Dick Holler tune made famous by Dion in 1968. This was released in response to the assassination of Bobby Kennedy.
More on Dion and artists who have covered his music…
Is it just me or is Andre 3000 infinitely more interesting than Big Boi? This acoustic cover of Outkast’s (err, Andre’s) “Hey Ya” shows the depth of hip hop done right. I don’t know much about Mat other than he’s in Obadiah Parker, a folk/pop band from Scottsdale, Arizona.
Here is Mat, explaining the reaction to the song and his plans from here…