‘Covering Elliott #1’ By Diverse Artists, Reviewed
What does happen when fans from all over the world connect to pay homage to their favorite artist? ‘Covering Elliott’ is a good example of this, a grassroots project connecting fans from all countries, all eager to share their covers of their favorite Elliott Smith songs.
A follow-up is already in the work, but thirteen tracks were compiled for this first CD, which is gathering some of Elliott Smith’s most beloved tunes.
Eda Bozkurt & Onur Şeyhoğlu gave a slow-down piano version of ‘Between the Bars’ with some striking vocal effects a bit reminiscent of what Madeleine Peyroux did a while ago for this same song, and that was my favorite cover. ‘I didn’t Understand’ by Liam Pek is as eerie as the original, and builds beautiful multi harmonies, while ‘Twilight’ by Annabelle Lord Patey & Matt Minigell is a very intimate duo with the pure and youthful voice of Annabelle (the daughter of indie rock legend Mary Lou Lord). Summer Begley approaches ‘Roman Candle’ with a very different attitude, transforming the sad song with a sort of Cat Power-like echo in the vocals, while Camonicaa brings up as much upbeat vibe as possible from ‘The Biggest Lie’. The Secret Sea gives a poignant cover of ‘Angeles’, with a loyal and perilous fingerpicking, while Spare Skin’s dark and deep vocals are perfect for the distress slowing evaporating from ‘Half Right’. ‘Bottle up and explode’ by Valeria Tyagnorenko & Martin Benedek sounds like a perfectly crafted vocal-guitar combination, although the haunting track was recorded over the internet in 2 different countries – Valeria lives in Austria and Martin in Argentina, and you kind of hear it in his guitar at times. There’s also a cool-icy version of ‘The enemy is you’ by Grace Moore, while Jester At Work installs creepiness and fuzz in ‘Needle in the Hay’, and the very appropriately named for this project XO has that right harmonic intimacy for ‘Plainclothes Man’. The album closes with a very personal cover of ‘Kings Crossing’ by Kyle Meadows which brings up sonic depth and crashing drums in the background, and finally Chris Warren sings a soulful and soothing version of ‘I Better Be Quiet Now’.
All these interprets are real artists pursuing a musical career and recording their own music, but they offered their talent and time for this fabulous project. You can already pre-order the ‘Covering Elliott #1’ here, before its official release on December 1st. but you have to know that all profits made from sales of the album will be split between Guerilla Philanthropists Punk Rock Marthas. and Outside In, an organization which helps homeless youth and other marginalized people.
These 13 tracks were handpicked among many others, as the organizers of the project received around 60 covers from all over the world. ‘Covering Elliott’ is a true labor of love, and if all these artists may be new to you, they share a same admiration for the late great Elliott Smith.