Category: Sarah Jarosz

Dylan, Etc.: More covers of and from
Sarah Jarosz, Lavinia Ross, Lisa Hannigan, Anna Vogelzang & more!

May 16th, 2011 — 07:46 pm

There’s a lot of Dylan in the air this month – see, for example, both our recent feature on Thea Gilmore’s John Wesley Harding, released in honor of the seminal singer-songwriter’s 70th birthday next week, and last weekend’s house concert preview for our upcoming show with Anthony Da Costa, who many have compared to Dylan himself. But as we’ve noted several times here at Cover Lay Down, the Bob Dylan canon is far too vast to justify a single feature. So here’s an omnibus of a different sort: five vastly different new and newly-found takes on Dylan, plus more from the mailbox and beyond.

We’re huge fans of the Sugar Hill Records catalog here at Cover Lay Down. But this two solid releases this month have raised the bar even higher for the best little bluegrass label in the business: Follow Me Down, a stunningly powerful sophomore album from festival circuit fave and local college student Sarah Jarosz, and a strong solo record from Tara Nevins, better known as the sole female voice behind roots rockers and folk festival faves Donna The Buffalo.

Cover Me already hit the ground running last week with Sarah’s Radiohead cover, which features her singing alongside the Punch Brothers, but as a nod of the head towards our ongoing support of her burgeoning career on the border of bluegrass and indiepop – the girl turns twenty next week, for goodness sake – we’ve been given exclusive first-stream rights for Jarosz’ cover of Dylan’s Ring Them Bells, and it’s a masterful take, warm and sweet and aching, with rich production, a pitch-perfect tonality, and subtle harmonies by Vince Gill. Meanwhile, Nevins takes on Van Morrison amidst a spate of deep, mystical originals, and it fits in just fine with her rootsy sensibility. Both albums come highly recommended; head over to Sugar Hill to order.

  • Sarah Jarosz: Ring Them Bells (orig. Bob Dylan)

Our feature on the songbook of Kate Wolf last summer found us wandering North through Kate’s own hills of California, and on upstream to Oregon. Now, in the mail, comes Keepsake, the sole solo album from Lavinia Ross, Oregonian farm-owner and musician whose music is as earthy and honest and organic as her produce. The album includes three Kate Wolf covers, a take on James Taylor’s Millworker, several originals, and a rock-solid interpretation of Dylan’s Tomorrow is a Long Time, recorded with her husband, singer-songwriter Rick Ross, and the whole thing is light and gentle as it comes. Here’s a pair to get you started.

We keep a close eye on little-lo-fi-UK-label-that-could Where It’s At Is Where You Are; though their catalog yaws wide, their taste for covers is insatiable, as we noted way back in March of 2009 upon the release of their gigantic Springsteen tribute, and again over the holiday season, and their stable includes a number of quite wonderful otherwise-unknowns emerging on and about the folkworld. This month’s news takes note of The Lobster Boat, the newest release from Howard Hughes of French band Coming Soon and David Tattersall of The Wave Pictures, whose work together sounds a bit like a mostly-acoustic folk-rock band whose members grew up listening to the Kinks, Belle and Sebastian, and the Violent Femmes; if the below bonus b-side and the title track streaming on their homepage are any indication, this one is well worth the pounds.

  • Howard Hughes and David Tattersall: The Locusts Sang (orig. Bob Dylan)

Elseblog, the collaborative at covers tumblr Copy Cats shared this 2009 bell-driven Lisa Hannigan cover of Just Like Tom Thumb Blues a few weeks ago, but it finally caught my ear – a sharp shock amidst a long slog – as I was digging through the feedreader, trying to catch up after two weeks of being out of the loop. Not sure if it’s folk, per se, but we’ve celebrated Hannigan’s beautifully torn voice here before, and the sparse instrumentation and stark pub setting are utterly delightful to this folk listener’s ears.

Finally, since we were trending Dylanesque this week, I headed over to YouTube and did a quick search, just to see what would pop up, hoping to find the perfect coda. Sure enough: amidst the grungy bedroom amateurs, indie-folk banjo-player Anna Vogelzang‘s just-recorded after-midnight cover of Don’t Think Twice comes off road-weary and delicate, providing the perfect excuse to finally tout this long-admired up-and-comer. The ex-Dresden Dolls bandmember’s upcoming new album will feature Anthony Da Costa (thus bringing this entry full circle), and members of Dresden Dolls and Righteous Babe, among others; check out Anna Vogelzang’s YouTube channel for more, more, more from this amazing post-punk singer-songwriter.

Bonus Track:

Cover Lay Down posts new coverfolk features and themed songsets twice weekly.

44 comments » | (Re)Covered, Anna Vogelzang, Bob Dylan, Sarah Jarosz

Wednesday Exclusive: Sarah Jarosz and Black Prairie
cover Queen Of The Silver Dollar off the new Shel Silverstein tribute

June 2nd, 2010 — 05:13 pm

Twistable, Turnable Man: A Musical Tribute to the Songs of Shel Silverstein – first mentioned here in April as part of our look at this year’s early Tributes and Cover Compilations – is due to drop next week, and the buzz is getting loud, with previews posted on Stereogum, Pitchfork and Spin in the last few weeks alone.

Yesterday, fellow coverblog Cover Me premiered Lucinda Williams’ take on The Ballad of Lucy Jordan, a one-time hit for Marianne Faithfull, and as might have been expected from the the raspy-voiced queen of modern alt-country, it’s a gem among gems. As I noted in the comments, Lucinda’s cover comes off darker and more atmospheric than I expected – the production is more post-millennial Emmylou Harris than anything – but that’s no complaint: the track is gorgeous, and easily justifies the price of admission alone.

But it’s our turn for a premiere today. And instead of turning to the familiar and wonderfully welcome artists who pepper the track list, we’ve chosen to feature the newest, greenest acts on the record. Because we’re very big fans, and you should be, too.

Slower than Emmylou’s 1975 country and western take, less ragged countryfolk than the Dr. Hook original, the newest interpretation of Silverstein’s ode to a hardened but still desirable barfly comes off happy and wry, as befits the man who penned it. Sarah Jarosz’s maturing voice floats over the indie-meets-string-band sound of the still-fledgling Portland-based Decemberists side project Black Prairie, the male tenor harmonies rising to meet hers as if in a bluegrass choir, the accordion, fiddle, and sliding steel string buttressing their tune as it grows oh-so-slowly from mellow and atmospheric to full, joyous and twangy.

We’ve featured both Black Prairie and Sarah Jarosz here on Cover Lay Down before. So it’s especially wonderful to report that their first try at collaboration is a gentle, bittersweet acoustic country masterpiece, and quite an honor to be the first to set it free. Here, take a listen:

Twistable, Turnable Man is great from start to finish, really – how could it be otherwise, with a line-up that includes John Prine, Andrew Bird, Nanci Griffith, Kris Kristofferson, Dr. Dog, Todd Snider, and My Morning Jacket? So what are you waiting for? Head over to Sugar Hill Records to preorder your copy today.

1,505 comments » | Black Prairie, Sarah Jarosz, Tribute Albums