Repost: Butch Walker’s Tribute to His Father

We’ve gotten a ton of referrals today on this old post, so reposting for easier access. I’m guessing I’m not the only struggling from all the reminders this week of what I’ve lost…

Originally Posted on January 6, 2015:

Butch Walker made me cry. His new song was inspired by the death of his father and features a guitar solo by Bob Mould, who also lost his father in recent years. I guess that makes three of us.

Walker’s new album, Afraid of Ghosts, will be released on February 3rd. The album was produced by Ryan Adams, whose influence can be heard in the sparsely arranged, melancholy melodies. I especially connect with the title track.



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Butch Walker Official Site


Butch Walker’s Tribute to His Father

Butch Walker made me cry. His new song was inspired by the death of his father and features a guitar solo by Bob Mould, who also lost his father in recent years. I guess that makes three of us.

Walker’s new album, Afraid of Ghosts, will be released on February 3rd. The album was produced by Ryan Adams, whose influence can be heard in the sparsely arranged, melancholy melodies. I especially connect with the title track.



Buy @ Amazon

Butch Walker Official Site


Billy Childs: Map to the Treasure (Reimagining Laura Nyro)

Billy Childs’ Map to the Treasure (Reimagining Laura Nyro) is an interesting and mostly solid jazz tribute to singer-songwriter Laura Nyro. Though the dazzling tracks that bookend the album far outshadow the rest.



Renee Fleming’s voice is a soaring, agile instrument on the opener, “New York Tendaberry.” Fleming may be an opera diva by trade, but her supernaturally gorgeous voice takes jazz and pop to other realms. I only wish she’d contributed more songs for this tribute.

Becca Stevens’ angelic soprano is juxtaposed nicely with a moody arrangement on “The Confession.”

“Stoned Soul Picnic” is my personal favorite Nyro track (thanks to its inclusion on an old pal’s mixtape), so I much prefer Nyro’s original over the Ledisi cover here.

Esperanza Spalding, Ricki Lee Jones and Shawn Colvin guest on other tracks. I love the piano on “To a Child,” but Dianne Reeves’ vocal arrangement is a bit too light and smooth for me. Overall the tribute is a bit too much of a soft jazz jam for my taste, but will probably appeal more to more diehard Childs and/or Nyro fans.

The final cover of “And When I Die” by Alison Krauss and Jerry Douglas is as mesmeric as Renee Fleming’s opener. Those two songs need to be heard.

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Billy Childs Official Site


Various Artists: Just Tell Me That You Want Me – Tribute to Fleetwood Mac

If any band deserves one of these ever popular tribute albums, it’s Fleetwood Mac. Just Tell Me That You Want Me is a mostly solid collection of classic Fleetwood Mac songs as covered by a diverse selection of modern bands. Among them are Antony (of the Johnsons), Lykke Li, Bonnie Prince Billy, Marianne Faithfull, The Kills, St. Vincent, The New Pornographers and The Crystal Ark. You can stream the entire album below.

“Albatross” by Lee Ranaldo Band featuring J Mascis is a disappointingly bland instrumental intro, but the album soon gets off to a proper start with Antony‘s lovely and unexpectedly understated cover of “Landslide.”

Trixie Whitley gives a soulful, gut-rumbling blues rendition of “Before The Beginning.”

Billy Gibbons & Co.’s “Oh Well” is a clanging, thumping, thunderous piece of blues-rock machinery.

Best Coast’s peppy “Rhiannon” is a painful example of lost potential. Their claphappy retro girl pop rendition strips the song completely of all its magic and drama.

If only Lykke Li had been granted that cover in addition to her spectacular, ghostly rendering of “Silver Springs.” Now this is an artist who knows how to interpret a song in a fresh and enchanting way without sacrificing the substance of the original.

The Kills’s dark-rock “Dreams” is equally mesmeric.

Karen Elson also does a surprisingly worthy cover of “Gold Dust Woman.” She made a smart choice by going for something in between the rocked up definitive cover by Hole and the haunting, more acoustic style of Fleetwood Mac’s original. Elson was also a highlight on last year’s Rave On Buddy Holly tribute.

Gardens & Villa’s languid take of “Gypsy” isn’t quite as atmospheric as the original, but it’s still good.

The Crystal Ark are one of the few here who successfully alter the integral arrangement of a Fleetwood Mac song. Their futuristic, electro-funk retooling of “Tusk” works amazingly well.

MGMT, however, failed to do the same with their annoying computerized “Future Games.” It’s almost funny how I can consistently dislike a band even when I don’t realize it’s them I’m listening to.

The remaining tracks aren’t interesting enough to warrant either praise or criticism. All in all, it’s definitely one of the better tribute albums to be released in the past decade. But there are some glaring omissions – most notably “The Chain” and “Go Your Own Way.” And, like most modern compilations, its long-term appeal may suffer from too many forgettable of-the-moment bands.

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