“Heaven” (Brett Dennen Cover Version)

Originally posted 2010-02-17 02:27:46. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Hi folks!  Welcome to another Jim Fusco Tuesday!  This was one of those weeks where, after such a great long weekend, I truly dreaded the four-day week ahead.  I have two immediate video programs to edit, a whole bunch of PSA’s, an audio mastering project, and multiple projects looming around the corner… And that’s all stuff I have to do AFTER a crazy day at work!  I feel myself getting a better handle on things at work, but it’s still a struggle on a daily basis, as I’m constantly trying to dig out of a growing hole.  It’ll get better, but it’s just these weeks when everything piles up that I get a bit nervous.  Becky’s been helping (bringing me coffee and snacks, plus trying to keep me to a schedule), so it’s definitely hurt less than it should’ve.

Anyway, onto tonight’s video:

I’ve been churning out the new artists to the blog lately (and ones you might even have heard of, by the way), but tonight I might break that mold a bit.  I had never heard of Brett Dennen before, but my boss kept telling me about him after he heard Dennen’s music on Last.fm, a music service on Xbox 360.  Anyway, he burned me a copy of Brett’s songs (don’t worry, Brett- I bought the LP version of “Hope for the Hopeless” afterward and so did my brother!).  But, even though he kept asking me about it, I didn’t put the CD in because I was still hooked on the Grateful Dead!  So, about four weeks ago now, I popped Brett’s “Hope for the Hopeless” album in and completely fell in love with the music.

The man is simply a good songwriter.  His songs are not overly complicated (which I LOVE)- he uses some pretty simple chords in some songs (and some cool inversions in others, too) and the songs are short and sweet.  The songs pretty much follow the verse-bridge-chorus model and there’s one or two guitar solos spattered throughout the album.  It’s a short one with only 11 songs, but I don’t care- the quality definitely makes up for the quantity.

Dennen’s two previous releases before “Hope for the Hopeless” had the feel of Jack Johnson’s first album- sparsely produced to its detriment.  Yes, there are good songs, but I need a little more than an acoustic guitar to make me love an album.  “Hope for the Hopeless” is different.  It’s almost like he got signed to a label that gave him some more money to produce an album.  The result is amazing- I just love the production on this disc.  You won’t find a lot of harmonies here and the instruments are no-frills.  Mostly, you have an acoustic, an electric, bass, piano/organ, and drums.  That’s a perfect mix for me.  What’s great about this album, and I plan on trying with my next album, is that there really is no rhythm guitar.  The guitar only plays what it needs to.  So, the music sounds open, but not lacking.  You’ll just have to listen to get what I’m saying.

I could’ve picked any of the 11 songs from “Hope for the Hopeless” to cover.  My favorites are “Who Do You Think You Are?” and “Make You Crazy”, but I chose “Heaven” because it’s just one of those “perfect” songs.  It has such a message- kind of like “Imagine” by John Lennon.  This song, according to Dennen fans, will stand as his masterpiece.  On the recording, I challenge you not to get chills once the band comes in at the start of the second chorus.  It’s AWESOME!

So, I decided to record my version of this song just acoustically, though I’ve been playing it on the piano recently, as well.  “Heaven” is a great song to sing by yourself, as it only has one vocal in the album version anyway (the single version suffers from a female lead vocal in the second verse- I much prefer the album version and I’m glad he did it that way).

One thing about Dennen- when you hear his songs, you’ll notice his…let’s say “accent”.  I’m not really sure what it is.  It sounds Louisianan to me.  At first, I really didn’t like it.  But, if you get past the way he says certain words (like instead of “trouble”, he says, “trugh-bowl”), you’ll really like these songs.  And now, I even like the way he says those words, because I can tell he’s not doing it on purpose (just to sound different)- it’s just the way he talks/sings.

On a side note, check out one of my new favorite tunes, “Make You Crazy”, on YouTube- the music video is pretty cool.

Now, I had a feeling I’d heard of Brett Dennen before.  I mean, that voice is so unmistakable.  Becky and I both agree that we’ve heard his most “famous” song, “Ain’t No Reason” (not one of my favorites and if you heard it and know my musical tastes, you’ll understand why).  We must’ve heard it in a TV show.  Then, my brother Mike ended up knowing (and loving) “Make You Crazy”, too, from his days working at Hollister, where they played the song on a daily basis.

Okay, enough talk- time to watch the LSHD version of “Heaven” performed by me, Jim Fusco!  I’d love to hear your thoughts about the song, my performance, and Brett Dennen.  I hope you have a great week and make sure to stop back next Tuesday for another acoustic cover song.  I plan on it being a classic early 60’s tune that Becky and I heard in the car while on our way to Albany, NY for our weekend trip.  We had a blast- check my Twitter (jimfusco) for all the updates and photos from the road!  Until next week!



“Back on the Train” (Phish Cover)

Originally posted 2009-12-18 06:39:44. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jeremy Hammond:

My acoustic cover of “Back on the Train” by Phish, from the Farmhouse album. I intend to go back and overlay another track for the solos, but here’s the “single take” version with just rhythm and vocals.

** EDITOR’S NOTE: **

For Jeremy’s third Guest Session contribution, he has brought yet another new band to the Laptop Sessions cover song music video blog.  Somehow, Phish have slipped by these past couple years without ever being acknowledged by the Laptop Sessions crew.

No longer!

As per usual, this is a great video of an upbeat performance — Jeremy’s vocals are beautifully authentic to Trey Anastasio’s original lead.  And, of course, the chords sound quirky and, again, perfectly authentic to the Farmhouse track.  Farmhouse was their final record before they announced a hiatus, even if they have gone on to release new discs at a steady pace since then, including this year’s most recent Phish album, Joy.

“It’s Too Late” (Carole King Cover)

Originally posted 2009-07-14 22:55:37. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Could it be Jim Fusco covering a woman’s song…in the original key??  Then you KNOW it’s the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog- the BEST music video blog ever created!

This is a great song, isn’t it?  It’s off of Carole (not to be confused with “Carol”) King’s classic hit album, “Tapestry”.  I’ll admit that I don’t have the album and just know the single from hearing it many times on the radio.  But, after hearing what a great tune it is (you know, actually just sitting and listening to it), I think I may give the album a try.  It’s a fairly simple song and reminds me (especially the ending, which ends on the same chord and with the same pattern) of a song my brother Mike and I wrote a long time ago called “Stuck In A Dream”.  You can listen to that song, which is off of the “Meaningless: Echoes of Dreams” sessions, by clicking HERE!  We wrote that song about six or seven years ago, so you know that this song, even though it uses some great Major 7th chords, is still pretty simple.  On the piano, it’s much easier than it is on the guitar.

But, it’s got some great guitar parts in the original recording- a very cool solo.  Plus, it’s got that nifty little piano riff thrown in there, which again, for some reason, strikes me as something only a rudimentary songwriter would put in.  You know, someone that’s just tinkering around with the piano and came up with it.

So, I finally do a song from a female artist and here I am picking it apart, calling it amateurish.  No, I don’t mean that at all.  That’s one of the reasons why I want to hear the rest of the “Tapestry” album- if some of the other songs strike me as “professional”, I’ll know she came up with this song on purpose, and I do believe that’s the case.

This is a pretty powerful song, especially the part about “not trying”.  Too many relationships fail not because the people weren’t compatible, but because they just stopped trying.  Effort is truly the number one factor in a relationship, in my opinion.  I mean, this song isn’t saying what I’m really thinking right now- I’m getting married in less than two weeks and, contrary to what everyone insists on telling me, I’m full of hope and happiness for this.  I’ve promised time and time again that I will always put as much effort as possible into my relationship, as it’s the single most important thing to me.  Not music, not anything else- my relationship with my family (which will include my new wife) and my closest friends.

The way this song relates to me right now is that I kind of feel I’m not getting the same effort back from some of the people I consider close.  And some, like the song says, are irreparable.  That’s not to say that myself and the other person won’t be happy again- we certainly will.  It just won’t be as a result of one another.  The only thing I can hang my hat on at the moment that makes me feel any better is the “fact” (at least from my point of view) that the decisions that got it to this point were not mine at all- if it were up to me, everything would’ve stayed the same.  But, alas, just as Carole King sings, it’s just too late, baby.

I hope you enjoy my acoustic rendition of this classic song tonight.  I had a b***** of a time getting it right, as I must’ve done about twenty takes and even after I got the perfect one, I realized it had all kinds of inexplicable pops and clicks in the audio, which I’m trying to fix now.  I hope you can listen past the imperfections and hear one of my better performances underneath.  Have a great week and stay tuned for Chris’ post from the Dylan concert tomorrow and Jeff and Chris later on!



“Hang On To Yourself” (David Bowie Cover)

Originally posted 2009-03-09 23:28:50. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

For David Bowie chords and lyrics, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

Hello and welcome to a brand-new week and a brand-new set of sessions here at the best acoustic cover song music video blog in the universe!  Monday is my day, and as usual, I dug through the new release news to see what I could find to play.  I found a couple of options, but this one stood out to me the most…

David Bowie’s “Hang On To Yourself” was originally released on the 1972 album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.  Now, that’s an album title if I’ve ever heard one!  It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, as I know admittedly little about David Bowie.  But from a quick online search, I learned some interesting facts.  For instance, D.A. Pennebaker (better known for his documentary on Bob Dylan Don’t Look Back) recorded a concert film and titled it the same as the aforementioned album.  Also, “Hang On To Yourself” was apparently originally released (as “Hang Onto Yourself”) by David Bowie’s band called “Arnold Corns.”  He got the idea for the band name from the Pink Floyd song “Arnold Layne.”

So, amidst all this David Bowie trivia, you may be wondering what any of this has to do with new music Tuesday…

Well, it appears that David Bowie is releasing an official version of a live concert titled Santa Monica ’72.  For years, this was only available as a bootleg.  Then, in the mid-90’s, a former management company released it without Bowie’s authorization.  So, this has become one of those records that circulates through the underground, perpetually spreading from one fan to the next.  As of tomorrow, the official release will be on the shelves.

“Hang On To Yourself” is the first song on this live Santa Monica ’72 album, and I can see why!  It’s a peppy, rocking number with rapid-fire lyrics and a very brief running time.  What better way to kick off a concert?  While I haven’t heard the live version from 1972, I can only imagine what it would sound like…

That’s pretty much it for me tonight.  I had a very enjoyable weekend on all fronts…

…which means that I have lots of work to catch up on this week!  I’ll be working on entering grades by Wednesday morning, speaking to a group of sophomores at a CCSU “college to career” seminar Wednesday evening, and starting to work on my BEST portfolio after about a week and a half on hold for other stuff.  I know, I lead an exciting life!  :-)

I hope you enjoy my video, and I hope to continue to post new “extras” in the near future — I already have inspiration for new “Deep Racks Reports,” music reviews (check out my one-sentence reviews posted yesterday!), and other articles.  I also have to get cracking on some site work I signed up for a couple weeks ago and haven’t gotten to (sorry webmaster!).

Don’t forget to hurry back tomorrow for an all-new Jim Fusco Tuesday.  It’s certain to be “we-should-name-a-day-of-the-week-for-it” good…

See you next session!