Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cover songs, classically done

I love cover songs.  Something about a person taking an established work and putting their own spin on it really attracts me.  I have a huge playlist on my iPod that is solely covers and remakes.  I'm always looking for more; the odder, the better.  That's why I started listening to the Coverville podcast two years ago--Brian Ibbott collects cover songs too, and twice a week he puts out a podcast--usually themed--that's 45 minutes of cover song heaven.

Coverville is how I found Janice Whaley's The Smiths Project (she's done, by the way, and now getting ready to release everything in a CD box set).  It's how I found Pomplamoose, that duet that was all over the TV this Christmas with Honda ads.  Cool thing about that?  The camera crew came to their house to film.  How'd you like to see your garage on national TV?

I love strings as well.  I played viola in third grade for a few months, until I couldn't stand the noise I was making any more.  I sounded like I was hurting the cat.  I gave it up and decided to sing instead, because at least I could control my voice.  What those few months did do for me was instill a love of the string section, probably because I know how difficult it is to do, and how much time and patience it must take to become an expert.

So when Coverville played Elton John's "Little Jeanie" by the Vitamin String Quartet, I immediately went looking for them. They're a group of session musicians in LA who remake popular music into string quartets in their "spare time."  They are very prolific, and they play anything from Elton John to Pink Floyd to Oingo Boingo to My Chemical Romance to Madonna, and all the spaces in between.  Here they are doing Lady Gaga's "Telephone:"

And this is their version of  "Grand Theft Autumn" by Fall Out Boy:

Good, no?

Here's one more string cover song.  This was tweeted to me by a friend.  It's dueling cellists performing "Smooth Criminal."

And there's your musical interlude for the morning.

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