Cover Song of the Month: April 2013

Ronnie James Dio is known by many as one of the best metal vocalists of all time.  He was the lead singer for many groups, most notably of which were Richie Blackmore’s Rainbow, Black Sabbath/Heaven & Hell, Elf, and his solo band, Dio.  Dio is the prime example of a musician working his way from the absolute bottom to the insurmountable sky of success.  Songs from his doo-wop days can be found on iTunes.

Anyway, Dio left behind a legacy when he lost his battle to cancer on May 16, 2010.  Modern hard rockers Downstait have honored that legacy with their cover of Dio’s “The Last In Line,” featured on their latest album, With You In Mind.

As Dio had a one-of-a-kind voice, Downstait lead vocalist Daren Zack Call and guest vocalist Sahaj Ticotin, of Ra, stick with their own vocal ranges.  As expressed in previous articles, it is always better to personalize a cover song with your own brand and style.  Your fans will appreciate when you do not deviate from your own sound simply to pay tribute.  More importantly, if you do a good job on a personalized cover, you may acquire some new fans.

This was definitely a ballsy decision, but Downstait pulled it off.  While still respecting the original version, they transformed it into a song that fit in perfectly with the rest of the material on the CD.  With the addition of Sahaj’s smoother, more versatile vocals, Downstait’s cover of “The Last In Line” is a respectable tribute to the great Ronnie James Dio.

It may not have Dio’s voice or fit into the category of heavy metal, but it is a great cover.  Sahaj’s voice both by itself and in harmony with that of Call makes it work vocally.  Combined with the spot-on guitar work, especially including the near-perfect solo, this version is worth at least two listens.

Check it out here: 

Dio’s version: 

With You In Mind was released on April 23, 2013.  For more information on Downstait, check out the band’s Facebook page.

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