Counting Crows’ “August and Everything After” (1993) – The Weekend Review

By Chris Moore:

RATING:  3.5 / 5 stars

If you’re compiling a list of the best debut albums by nineties rock bands, August and Everything After certainly deserves a place beside other great first releases like Cracked Rear View (Hootie & the Blowfish) and Gordon (Barenaked Ladies).

The question is, of course, just how high it should place.

There is no question that Adam Duritz and company establish a characteristic sound on this album, a sound that formed a solid foundation for their career.  Duritz’s vocals are such an important component — perhaps the key component — of the band’s sound that the instrumentation and background vocals have very little wriggle room to achieve a fitting mix.  In that sense, August and Everything After highlights the configuration that has clicked: a largely acoustic arrangement with subdued electric guitars.  mandolins, and the Hammond B-3 filling in the gaps in all the right places.

As a band, the Counting Crows strike the rare balance between sounding as if they are playing off the cuff and as though every note is planned and purposeful.  Steve Bowman’s drums seem to be the pin holding all the other aspects together, rising and falling in tempo and volume as each song unfolds.

What holds this album back from true greatness is its adherence to this arrangement.  On first listen, several of these songs could blend together in the listener’s memory, as the band seems more concerned with stretching out and getting comfortable than ripping any of these songs apart and driving them home.

Counting Crows' "August and Everything After" (1993)

Counting Crows' "August and Everything After" (1993)

Still, there are some absolute gems here, and Duritz clearly established himself as one of the most unique, interesting, and versatile vocalists on record.  “Round Here,” for instance, is the perfect specimen of a Counting Crows track, a moving song that set the bar high for all of their songs to come. 

On “Omaha” — a song that always conjures BnL’s excellent “Straw Hat and Old Dirty Hank for me — they take it up a notch.  “Mr. Jones” provides the proof that the Counting Crows were destined for radio hits, if on their own terms.  This is no cookie cutter pop song; instead, it settles in at some points and rocks out at others.

Later, Duritz and company treat the listener to two gems, “Rain King” for those looking for an infusion of rock and “Anna Begins” for those more inclined to the heartbreaking beauty that few songs pull off so poignantly.

After this, August and Everything After requires patience to fully appreciate its purpose.  There are some standout deep tracks like “Perfect Blue Buildings” and “Time and Time Again,” but these songs would probably benefit from having a minute or so trimmed off.  And this is not my pitch with A&R in mind, hoping to appeal to the masses.  Rather, I have to believe that if a song doesn’t offer something significantly different or compelling for the listener after three minutes or so, then it’s time to reign it in.

“Sullivan Street” needs not fall under scrutiny, though: this is a flawless deep track that deserves all four and a half minutes of its duration.

The remainder of the album suffers a bit from the self-indulgence most prevalent here on the final two or three tracks.  There are some moments of brilliance, and yet at other times, you might be left wondering when the song will be over.

Perhaps mine are the antsy rantings of an impatient man, but I’d like to believe not.  And I have a great respect for this album.  After all, it is a debut, and one that is imbued with such honesty, passion, beauty, and potential that there must have been no question of the great work that was to come from this young band.

(To be certain their follow-up release, Recovering the Satellites, more than makes good on the promise implicit in that aforementioned potential!)

“You Can’t Count On Me” (A Counting Crows Cover)

By Chris Moore:

Hello and welcome to another all-new Laptop Session! Today’s selection is “You Can’t Count On Me,” from the Counting Crows’ new album, Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings. This record is a concept album of sorts, as Adam Duritz sings his way from a raucous Saturday night out on the town to a Sunday morning of realizations. I’ve been really excited about recording a tune from this album — there’s been a lot of good new music this year so far, but this has been one of my favorite albums. To be honest, I didn’t know much about Duritz and company, but I have a lot of respect for him as a songwriter and a performer after listening repeatedly to the album.

I hope you like my cover song version of this song, and if you do, you should check out the official in-the-studio videos posted on the Counting Crows YouTube channel. And don’t forget to come back to tomorrow for another quality video blog post from our very own Jeff Copperthite…

See you next session!

“Round Here” (Counting Crows Cover)

Happy Saturday to you! Welcome to your Saturday installment of The Laptop Sessions. We’re doing a sort of “twin spin” as Free Internet Radio likes to call it, as I bring you another tune by The Counting Crows, which were featured yesterday by Chris as well (and quite awesomely at that).

One of their most popular songs is today’s performance – “Round Here” from their album August and Everything After. While being one of their best, it is also one of the most difficult to sing and play. My voice still feels it a bit from singing the song.

Lead singer Adam Duritz always has an affinity for improvising a lot of lyrics, and changing singing styles frequently, so I wasn’t too worried about singing on time. I also wanted to combine the electric guitar riff, with the background chords, so I used a capo (although the song by no means requires one) and melded the two riffs so the bass note was hit on each chord, as well as the main riff. While the idea works in this performance, you can see it is quite difficult to sing the song and play this riff simultaneously. However, you’ll see this is quite effective, and I feel you will enjoy this quite a bit.

Just like Chris mentioned, I have also been listening to their new album Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings and I LOVE the new single. Hopefully later this year we’ll do some songs from that album.

Also, be sure to check out the Youtube channel at, as videos from our performance at SCSU have been posted. You can see Masters of the Universe plus myself rocking the house!

I hope you check back tomorrow for another wonderful session from Jim, and I hope you enjoy today’s installment!

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!

“A Long December” (Counting Crows Cover)

By Chris Moore:

I’ve been listening to the Counting Crows’ new album Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings all week now (up until MoU’s new album, Homestead’s Revenge, came out! — You can buy the high quality mp3s or the CD version. Here’s the web address: ).

I’ve really enjoyed listening to the Counting Crows, and it reminded me of my favorite songs of theirs from years past. Thus, I decided to record “A Long December.” Although it’s a piano-based song, I think it translates well to acoustic. If I was smart, though, I would have waited until the end of the year to record it…

This song was one of their biggest hits, but that’s not why I love it. I love the lyrics and the tune, and it’s one of those songs that will forever be etched in my memory, synonymous with my youth. I remember my seventh grade science teacher, Mr. Olayos, playing the radio during a quiz, and this song was on. This song really triggers a lot of happy — and, of course — not so happy memories from my past.

I hope you enjoy today’s Laptop Session and decide to comment or rate it!

And don’t forget to check back at tomorrow for an all-new Counting Crows cover from Jeff!