I have found that there are very, very few artists that I love who started playing music any later than the early t0 mid- 1990s. John Mayer has been an exception, at least up until his whole “I’m into blues/I’m very serious/I have long hair” phase. I fell in love with Room For Squares, found Inside Wants Out charming, and couldn’t stop listening to Heavier Things. Unfortunately, I found Continuum to be unimpressive on the whole. And don’t even get me started on Try!
So, for this session, I went back in time to “Love Song For No One,” hoping to conjure up a time when I loved Mayer and his work. I think his first album is often dismissed, as though every song were “Your Body is a Wonderland” — which I’m man enough to admit I really enjoy…
Without further ado, here’s my take on “Love Song For No One,” a version that took me many takes before I was happy enough to release it. I’m still not entirely happy with it, but my voice was scratchy and I did my best. Besides, you know what they say — a session a day… keeps Chris, Jim, and Jeff going crazy? 🙂
I’m pretty excited today, as I give you a new band to the Laptop Sessions: America!
I got into this band because of today’s cover song, Sister Golden Hair. I used to hear it on the radio many times growing up and decided that it would be perfect for a cover song. I’ve now seen the band America in concert at least ten times, meeting them and getting their autographs on many occasions. They’re great guys and that only helped make them one of my favorite bands.
I love their album “Homecoming” and will be doing most of the songs off it in the future. But, for now, I give you the tune that started it all for me. Once I found out that this song was from the same guys that did “Horse With No Name”, I had to get the “Best Of” CD. After that, I scoured CT (this was before eBay was huge) for any America CDs I could find. I even bought some of the LPs. The band was surprised to see such a young guy asking to get those signed. My gravitation towards America was probably due to the fact that I could tell they were influenced by the Beach Boys- their harmonies and melodic songs drew me in. And, they put a classic rock spin on things- kind of like Crosby, Stills, and Nash, but even more mellow.
“Sister Golden Hair” is really one of my favorite songs. The chorus is so catchy, but Gerry Beckley (the singer and songwriter for this song) didn’t stop there- he began the song with a great acoustic guitar part and some really cool slide guitar. One of the reasons why the original recording of “Sister Golden Hair” sounds so good is because Beatles producer George Martin actually produced it! Yes, that’s right- he even produced a few other albums for America in the mid 70s. The first song he produced for them was the big hit “Tin Man”.
America had two #1 Billboard hits- “A Horse With No Name” and “Sister Golden Hair”. It’s a shame they didn’t have a third, because then each member would’ve had their shot at having a Number One Hit. “A Horse With No Name” was written by Dewey Bunnell, but original member Dan Peek (left in the late 70s, but is now deceased) never got a song up to Number One. He did have a popular song, though, in “Lonely People”, which is instantly recognizable. So, I guess all of the band members had their chances to shine.
Like many of my acoustic cover song videos, I’m using my nylon string guitar here. Sure, it doesn’t sound exactly like the original, but I thought it allowed me to sing over the guitar without shouting. On the verses, I found that I needed a softer sounding guitar because the tone is so “conversational” and not soaring above the music (like a Beach Boys song would be, for instance).
I hope you all enjoy this America acoustic cover song- truly one of my favorites. Stay tuned for more cover song music videos from the musicians here at the Laptop Sessions video blog!
Greetings from the other side of the midnight chimes — this is your latest (and late) Laptop Session! Tonight, I bring you a new band to the sessions… Snow Patrol. Specifically, this is “Run,” the seventh track of their 2003 album Final Straw. This album was first recommended to me by then-fellow Staples Copy Center employee John Fortin, after he heard the Chris, Jim, and Becky album Live in the Studio. He said, based on our album, he thought I might enjoy the band.
At first, I liked the album, but I wasn’t crazy about it. It became one of those albums you go back to every so often, and over time, I grew to like it more and more. Recently, as I went back to both this album and their subsequent one, Eyes Open, I fell in love with the songs of Final Straw. The next album is solid, but lacks the hooks and flairs — really, the strength of individual tracks that are great and stand on their own — of the 2003 release.
My sister has also become a fan of Snow Patrol, so I hope that she gets a chance to read this post and check out the video. Jaime and I have fairly divergent tastes in music, but we have found much more overlap in the past few years — we can especially agree on the awesome-ness of Ben Folds and Elliott Smith! We actually both had a similar reaction to the new Snow Patrol single, “Take Back the City.” Specifically, we were hesitant about the new album based on the strength of this track. I can’t speak for her, but I know that — for me — the song seemed a bit forced at first, as if they were trying to make a hit single that could climb the charts as well as their last big hit, “Chasing Cars,” did. Really, though, what was most off-putting to me was what I initially interpreted as being a line — “God knows you’ve put your life into it tons.” Tons? Really? Is this the poetry I’m rushing to the store to purchase?
Well, those of you who know me will check this off on the list of times that I misinterpret something due to an accent. (Stories for another time…) The line is really “God knows you’ve put your life into its hands.” Lead singer Gary Lightbody’s Irish accent through me off. And, while I’m in a confessional mode, can I also admit that one of the factors that has always prevented me from entirely liking the band was the way Lightbody sings? Yes, it’s true… It took me until a few weeks ago to research and discover that they’re an Irish band. How I didn’t figure that out before is beyond me! But, now that I know, I’ve been going through a Snow Patrol renaissance of sorts.
Their 2008 release, A Hundred Million Suns, is — in my opinion — their best work since Final Straw. I was hesitant to buy it at first, based on their 2006 album and the aforementioned single. But, I’m really glad I did buy it. The opening track “If There’s a Rocket Tie Me to It” is one of my favorite track ones in a long time. Track two, “Crack the Shutters,” is one of my favorite songs on the album and would have been my choice for a single (To date, it has reached #9 on the iTunes alternative rock charts!). Then, track three is the single. Track four, “Lifeboats,” slows it down a bit and is another of my favorites. And it goes on from there…
I found it really interesting to read that the band considered this to be a more upbeat and “cheerful” album than previous releases. I didn’t really interpret it that way, but that could just be my current state of mind. Regardless, I do agree with their statement that it is their best album to date.
Well, that’s enough ranting and rambling about Snow Patrol for one post! In other news, I broke down and bought the first season of the Chappelle show, with hopes that Jim will want to watch some of the episodes. So far, I’ve only watched the first episode, which includes not only my favorite sketch (the Clayton Bigsby, black white supremacist skit) but also the Pop Copy sketch that so wonderfully makes fun of my previous profession as a Staples Copy Center employee! So, as you see, this post really comes full circle. It started with a band that was recommended to me by a Copy Center co-worker and ends with me going off to watch Pop Copy!
But, before I go, I should also mention that I have not made my last post of the day. In fact, there may be as many as two new posts from me in the next few hours. So stay tuned and come back soon for much more brand new fun on the best acoustic rock cover songs blog in the universe — the Laptop Session!
Welcome to Tremendous Tuesday! It’s so good, it’s “like a potential delay or closing tomorrow because of inclement weather” good.
Today I continue my romp of classic songs that have been covered more recently. Chances are you’ll think that Pearl Jam is the composer of the song “Last Kiss”, but if you do your research you’ll know it is a cover of a song that’s over 40 years old! It was actually written by Wayne Cochran, but he didn’t get a lot of publicity for the song. It took his song being covered a few times for the song to be successful.
This is among the easiest songs one can learn to play. I remember teaching this to one of my friends’ cousins at a guitar lesson. If you can play a G, Em, C, D progression, then congratulations you can wham out this song!
I had an incredibly busy day today, so i’m going to keep this brief. But short posts doesn’t mean a subpar video! The video itself came out well, and my voice “naturally” scratched during the higher notes, and it is really effective for this song that it happened. I think it is still an after effect of my voice still recovering from last week.
But Jim “Like an entire Christmas Village playing the same thing at once in their minature houses so it comes out peaceful and awesome” Fusco will be supplying us with an original tune tomorrow. I have a hunch at what it could be (if he hasn’t played it already), but chances are it will be a song I haven’t heard yet.
See you then!
Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, Jeff’s acoustic cover song music videos are no longer on YouTube, but we decided to keep his cover song blog posts up. We figured these music blog entries would be good for posterity’s sake and because Jeff always gave such insightful posts each Session. We hope to see Jeff’s impressive catalog of acoustic rock songs here on the Laptop Sessions cover songs and original music blog again in the future. But, for now, please make sure to check-out hundreds of other acoustic cover songs from all of your favorite bands here on the Laptop Sessions music blog!