The Return of Cover Songs III

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Mendalla

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So there's been this thing going on social media with artists doing versions of the sea shanty "Wellerman". And I've listened to a couple and then brushed it off as another social media fad. And then this one came out today. I have heard these three young women work together before as well as with their respective acts. I was intrigued by what they might do with it and I was not disappointed. Lovely a capella singing and some nice harmonizing.

The singers are (left to right in the cover image): Addie Nicole, lead singer of the rock band Halocene; Violet Orlandi, a solo artist who posted the video; and Audra Millar, lead singer of the cover band First to Eleven and their new spinoff act Concrete Castles.

 

BetteTheRed

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I found this tonight. Awesome cover of a Pet Shop Boys song, Elton John and Years and Years in the 2021 Brit Pop competition. Elton John is still so hot, and so engaged, after all these years!

 

Mendalla

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Great performance of the song. Elton and Olly Alexander of Years & Years play off each other very well. Pet Shop Boys are one of the those groups that I shouldn't like on paper (electro-dance pop isn't really my thing) but they slipped past that handily. "It's a sin" being one of the songs that I clicked with back in the day.
 

Mendalla

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"Eye of the Tiger" is the only hit I can remember from eighties band Survivor. Fortunately, Walk Off the Earth remembered it, too. :giggle:

 

Mendalla

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Nataly Dawn's voice is quite similar to that of UK singer Dido, so it's probably surprising to find Pomplamoose covering a Dido hit. They upped the tempo a bit and added a nice bass line. Quite an enjoyable version.


And the followup to that was, sadly, an announcement by Nataly that she's taking time off to have a small basal cell sarcoma removed. It's tiny (tip of her nose and not even visible in the announcement video) and not yet serious, so she's getting it fixed asap. As a result, they will be slowing their release schedule for a few months. On the upside, Nataly also announced that she's recording a new solo album before the removal.
 

Mendalla

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New Foxes & Fossils and it is a beauty. I actually first heard "Hazy Shade of Winter" covered by all-female rock group The Bangles in the eighties, but it is originally a Simon & Garfunkel tune.

 

Mendalla

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One of the few metal songs I liked before getting into symphonic metal last year was "Crazy Train" by Ozzy Osbourne. First to Eleven did this acoustic cover on one of their livestreams (they do a livestream every Thursday before their new video comes out at 6:30pm). It is very impressive, not just Audra's vocals (to be fair, even I can probably sing better than Ozzy) but Matt Yost's guitar work. Taking Randy Rhoads' riffs and translating them to acoustic guitar is no mean feat, but Matt does an amazing job of it. I continue to be blown away by his talent. He is probably as key to this band and their sister project Concrete Castles as Audra, even if she is very much the public face of the bands.

 

Mendalla

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I am not familiar with Dangerous Game from the musical Jekyll & Hyde. However, fortunately for the rest of us, Dutch singers Floor Jansen and Henk Poort are. Henk comes from the world of musical theater, having appeared in Dutch productions of Phantom of the Opera (his first duet with Floor was the titular song from Phantom), Les Mis, and others.

 

Mendalla

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Not sure I ever posted Floor and Henk's first duet, Andrew Lloyd-Webber's "Phantom of the Opera", from the Dutch TV show Beste Zangers. They are obviously having some fun with it, but also nail their parts. I sometimes wish Nightwish would restore the song to their repertoire, but the departure of bassist Marco Hietala, who sang The Phantom in that version, makes it unlikely.

 

Mendalla

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Pomplamoose consists of a married couple, Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn, plus backing musicians. For the most part, Nataly sings while Jack keeps his mouth shut and plays away on his keyboards. But covering the Talking Heads classic "Once in a Lifetime" gave Jack a chance to make his voice heard and it's a most entertaining cover. Notice how when he says the line "And you may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife" it puts him on screen with Nataly who is, of course, his beautiful wife.

 

Mendalla

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Okay, so here is one of the those covers that is so off-the-wall, it actually ends up working. Steve'n Seagulls is a Finnish country-bluegrass band noted for doing bluegrass covers of rock songs. Tarja Turunen, also Finnish, has a powerful, operatic soprano voice, but sings mostly symphonic metal. Here, she joins Steve'n'Seagulls for a song from her time as the original lead singer of Nightwish, the power ballad Sleeping Sun. Sleeping Sun was originally released for a solar eclipse in 1999 and has become one of the bands more enduring works. And damned if it doesn't work. As much as I love current Nightwish front woman Floor Jansen, there's some NW songs, like this one, that I prefer hearing Tarja sing. Tarja's voice sends chills up my spine when she lets it loose on the chorus of this song.

 
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Mendalla

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And to give you a sense of what Steve'n'Seagulls is really all about, here's one of their most viewed videos on Youtube.


It's bit weird because the whole "Finns pretending to be American hilly-billies" thing actually works rather well. First time I saw them, I thought they were from the US. Only found out later they were from Finland.
 

Mendalla

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I forget now when I first discovered Elise Trouw. She's a singer, drummer, and more. She has her own channel and also guests with others, often the funk cover band Scary Pockets. Below is the latest Scary Pockets cover to feature Elise. She just sings for most of it, but steps in on drums near the end.


And I just clued in watching this video that Jack Conte of Pomplamoose is also in Scary Pockets. Not sure how I missed that before. He's a pretty distinctive looking guy.

This next one is something else entirely. It's a percussion cover of Enter Sandman by Metallica, featuring Elise on drums and vocals with two other drummers and, get this, an ASL performer named Paul Raci who signs the song, moving about the stage rather like a vocal metal singer would while doing so. It is a terrific cover of the song to start with, but the ASL element really turns it into something unique. Apparently it was done for something called "Sound of Metal" that is available on Prime.

 

Mendalla

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It has been a while since Voces8 have released a pop cover. This arrangement of Don Maclean's "Vincent" is a perfect vehicle for tenor Blake Morgan with 4 other members on harmony and backing vocals. Arranger is Jim Clements, who has done other arrangements for Voces8, including a lovely version of Maria from West Side Story.

 

Mendalla

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I love Joni Mitchell. Her writing is sublime and she has (or had in her priime) a voice to match. One singer today who's voice is up to the challenge is Nataly Dawn of Pomplamoose, but I never clued in to that until this came out. Pomplamoose with Big Yellow Taxi.


And if you check the comments, this was the last one they got in the can before Nataly had some skin cancer removed from her nose. She says the surgery went fine in a pinned comment.

And also this week, First To Eleven released a full video for their cover of "Rolling in the Deep" and I was very impressed. Adele isn't really their usual repertoire but Audra Miller turns in a magnificent performance.

 

Mendalla

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First 2 Eleven's parents were probably kids when this originally came out, but they handle it beautifully. Max, the lead guitar, really shines here as does Audra on vocals

 

Mendalla

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Dutch singer Floor Jansen made a (by all accounts, I was obviously not there) triumphant return to the stage last night in her native Netherlands. First time she has sung for a live audience is nearly two years (a recent concert with Nightwish, the band she fronts, was virtual with no in-person audience). And to celebrate, she dropped a new cover. The first of her current series of solo covers was "Let it go" from the movie Frozen, so fittingly, she has now tackled "Into the Unknown" from Frozen 2. And both were on the setlist last night.


You know, if Idina Menzel isn't available for Frozen 3... :D
 

Mendalla

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Sailor Moon was a very popular anime perhaps 20 years ago (or longer, maybe). Here Brooke Surgenor, a fan of the show, gives a nice cover of the theme along with some cosplay by her and some friends.


And one of the friends is Matt Yost, the terrific lead guitarist of First to Eleven and Concrete Castles. The guitar duet between him and Brooke is actually the highlight of this for me.
 
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