Category: Cover Lay Down Presents

The Denison Witmer Covers Project, Redux: Denison Witmer covers Van Morrison’s Comfort You

October 4th, 2008 — 03:15 pm

A few weeks ago, I wrote that Denison Witmer would be releasing a new homebrewed coversong each Friday leading up to the November 11th release of his impending album Carry The Weight. Sadly, last week’s change-over in the way MySpace manages music had some glitches, and Denison had to take a week off. Since then, MySpace seems to have resolved their technical difficulties, but their new system remains a bit unwieldy, especially for those who are not interested in navigating a rigamarole of sign-ups and upgrades in flash-based interfaces merely to download songs that an artist is trying to give away.

Happily, there’s a better way. And Cover Lay Down is proud to be a part of it.

See, I’m a cover hound, and a relatively new fan; the idea that Denison’s newest cover might be ready to go, but was being withheld for purely technical reasons, was a total tease. So on a whim, I wrote to Denison’s management (via MySpace, ironically), and I offered this blog as a project partner. To my surprise, Denison and his manager seemed to like the idea, and they contacted me in advance of this weeks release.

Now, in partnership with Denison Witmer, we are proud to announce that for the remainder of the Denison Witmer Covers Project, Cover Lay Down will be offering Denison’s newest cover each week, as it comes out. The songs will go up simultaneously on Denison’s MySpace, or at least within the same hour or so; there’s other great content there, too, but those who prefer to skip the whole MySpace thing can just head over here to download the songs stress-free. In addition, we will be maintaining the entire list of covers as it grows, so that those just learning about the covers project can catch up on the entire set, which — if you’re just joining us — already includes beautifully sparse “bedroom covers” of Bonnie Raitt, Red House Painters, and Oasis.

We kick things off with another stellar track. This week’s brand new cover is a gorgeously delicate rendition of Van Morrison’s Comfort You, originally released on the critically underrated album Veedon Fleece in 1974; Denison says it’s been one of his favorite songs since he first heard it nine or ten years ago. Like Denison’s other recent covers, this version strips the production away, reimagining what was once a majestic, mildly hypnotic, lightly countrified blues rock ballad as a much more intimate acoustic performance, one that evokes the barebones, smallstage coffehouse sound of Nick Drake and Elliott Smith.

The song is a great choice for the series, with simple, yearning lyrics delivered with a perfectly ragged note of emotional depth; it’s fascinating to me how well Denison manages to strip away the production elements yet simultaneously grant the song such a powerful sense of urgency. The recording is lo-fi but rewarding; the vocals are set so far forward from the guitar, it could just as easily come from a lover’s bedside.

Take a listen, check out our original Denison Witmer feature for more Denison covers, and then head over to Denison’s MySpace to find purchase links, and read more about the backstory behind Denison’s relationship with each song and songwriter.

Previously on the Denison Witmer Covers Project:

We’ll be back next weekend with another installment of the Denison Witmer Covers Project. In the meantime, the forecast calls for coverfolk.

Cover Lay Down posts new features every Sundays, Wednesdays, and the occasional otherday. Coming soon: a return to our Single Song Sunday series, tributes to the songs of more great groups and songwriters, and a belated set of brand new coverfolk tracks from some younger faces.

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