Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tasty cover samples from eTown

I briefly talked about the eTown radio show in a February post when I posted the Barenaked Ladies and The Ditty Bops teaming up to cover Johnny Mercer's I'm an Old Cowhand from the Rio Grande (merged with the theme to Welcome Back Kotter, no less). What I neglected to mention was that these cover collaborations are more the rule than the exception in eTown, where they generally play host to two musical guests who play separate sets then are brought together for a big cover finale alongside the house band, The eTones. This part of the show reminds me of a CBC radio show that was regrettably canceled a few years ago called Fuse that also brought together unlikely combos to make wonderful music.

eTown, based in Boulder, Colorado, was founded by the husband and wife team of Nick and Helen Forster in 1991, a socially conscious radio show recorded live as a sort of variety show with musical performances and in-depth conversations with the artists and other guests that range from authors to scientists to politicians to citizens in the community. Another aspect of the show is the E-Chievement Award, a listener-nominated award to "remarkable individuals who are working hard to make a positive difference in their communities and beyond".

There's a bittersweetness to these covers since every one of them is accompanied by the end-of-show patter over an instrumental break and in a few cases, the song is prematurely truncated. But it's a small price to pay to hear some wonderful, wonderful covers! Needless to say, I also dig the Canadian content that makes its way into the show via guest artists or the cover choices. You can subscribe to the eTown podcast in iTunes with a new show every Wednesday and visit to peruse the extensive show archives.

These are just some of the awesome cover collaborations that have blessed the eTown stage:

Cake & Chuck Prophet - Sympathy for the Devil [originally by The Rolling Stones]
This is the one I most regret not being able to hear in its full unedited glory.

Barenaked Ladies & Catie Curtis - Yellow Submarine [originally by The Beatles]

Big Head Todd and the Monsters & Kathleen Edwards - Long May You Run [originally by Neil Young]

Michelle Shocked & The Bad Plus - Heart of Gold [originally by Neil Young]

Crash Test Dummies & Celeste Krenz - Theme from Gilligan's Island [originally written by Sherwood Schwartz and George Wyle]

Imogen Heap & Gregory Alan Isakov - We Will Rock You [originally by Queen]

BeauSoleil & Ben Kweller - Have You Ever Seen the Rain? [originally by Creedence Clearwater Revival]

DeVotchKa & Au Revoir Simone - Tender [originally by Blur]

Jakob Dylan & Danny Barnes - The Letter [originally by The Box Tops]

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