Category Archives: cover song of the month

Cover Song of the Month: September 2013

Georgia country band Seven Handle Circus has been chosen for the cover song of September with its live rendition of Daft Punk’s “One More Time.”  As stated in the band’s bio on its Facebook page, “Seven Handle Circus is a six-piece Georgia band that has been critically acclaimed as ‘bad-ass bluegrass’ with the ‘drive and energy of a rock band.’”  This description is evidenced by the video of the aforementioned cover, which can be viewed below.

Seven Handle Circus is comprised of the standard rock band instrumental section with the addition of orchestral instruments, such as violin and bass.  In the group’s cover of “One More Time,” the violinist is highlighted with playing lead while the guitarist plays more of a rhythmic role for a noticeable amount of time.

While the lead vocalist’s voice does not sound fully suited at times for this particular song, the banjo player’s counter-harmonies with the lead vocalist/guitarist make for an extremely catchy bridge and crowd pleasing moment.

Between that bridge and the jam session at the end, the last third of the performance is easily the most enjoyable part.  The best aspect is that the band members are clearly loving what they are doing, which shows in the musical output as well as their smiling faces.

Seven Handle Circus conquered that seemingly challenging song in every way.  Watch the video below and construct your own opinion.

If you or a musician you know has recorded a cover song that may be deemed worthy of the title of MusicTalker’s Cover Song of the Month, submit it to themusictalker@gmail.com.


Cover Song of the Month: June 2013

On their latest album, Unnatural Selection, Havok managed to slip a great cover of Black Sabbath’s “Children of the Grave” in with the new thrash material.  It was an intelligent decision to include such excellence.

While lead vocalist David Sanchez’s clean-ish singing may take regular Havok listeners slightly aback, it works with the song.  After all, Ozzy Osbourne did not scream in the original version, so why ruin a classic with out-of-place, guttural shouts?  It is impressive and gratifying that Havok put forth that manner of respect for the songwriters.

As for the instrumentation, the band offers its complimentary thrash metal influences while remaining within the boundaries of the song’s sound.  This version also has an extra raw and gritty feel that makes it that much better on the ears, ironically.

Havok out-did themselves on this cover.  They nailed every aspect of the original song and forged their own spin on it.  The best aspects of this version were arguably Sanchez’s singing and the guitar solo.

Performing covers of legendary bands’ songs is always a risky matter.  Havok were exceptionally ballsy by incorporating these new elements and attacking a Black Sabbath classic, but they seemed to succeed with ease.  These guys are sticking around, especially if they continue to pull strings like this.


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.


Cover Song of the Month: March 2013

According to the Youtube video’s description, Veresk is a band with members from Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Brazil, and Russia.  The video which accompanies this description portrays Veresk performing an outstanding cover of a classic song from a classic band.  This particular song is “Bohemian Rhapsody,” by British-born classic rock group, Queen.

Veresk’s live cover version, filmed in Russia in 2009, starts off a bit rocky with the song’s opening operatic gang vocals.  The falsetto that Freddie Mercury had mastered was not presented as smoothly here, but that should not be expected.  Freddie Mercury was one of a kind.

Still, Veresk does a great job with their interpretation.  One of the guitarists sings the opening verse while the lead singer faces the drum set.  When it comes time for the second verse, he turns around and belts it out with impressive vocal strength and a wide range.

The band is pretty on-par with the musicianship, excelling at the solos.  Overall, this is an exquisite cover version of the Queen masterpiece.

See and hear it for yourselves:

 

What should be April’s cover song?


Cover Song of the Month: February 2013

Upon searching for “Stairway to Heaven” covers on YouTube, one stand-alone video was discovered.  In this video, which can be found below, a guitarist named Marcello Calabrese is shown playing an extremely precise version of Led Zeppelin’s classic, “Stairway to Heaven,” on the streets of Rome.

This particular song is probably one of the most overplayed songs in the world, but for good reason.  Led Zeppelin created a masterpiece ballad, which has since led to many aspiring guitarists being ejected from shops like Guitar Center for playing “Stairway to Heaven” on the merchandise.

As for Calabrese, it would have been a regretful decision for a music shop to kick him out for playing the aforementioned masterpiece.  As portrayed in the YouTube clip, Calabrese perfected the guitar work that Jimmy Page once wrote.  Using looping pedals, this street guitarist played the song from start to finish as if Page were there.  The only thing missing was Robert Plant’s voice.

That is not to say that Calabrese did not put his own mark on it.  He added some classical influences into his version as well as his own heart and soul.  While there is no mistaking what song he is playing, it is by no means a clone of the original version.  As any great cover song should be, Marcello Calabrese’s version of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” is an interpretation of the original song.

See and hear it for yourself:

 

What should March’s cover song be?  Leave any ideas in the comments section.


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