Brilliant Collaboration on Under the Covers
Several friends mentioned that the Under the Covers show at Club Passim (its 12th annual such performance) is their favorite show of every year and, without knowing anything about the show other than the musicians playing, I decided to go. I am very glad I did!
The musicians – Zachariah Hickman (bass), Rose Cousins (guitar and light saber), Mark Erelli (guitar), and Jake Armerding (mandolin and fiddle) – are each well-known on the Boston music scenes. Hickman, Erelli, and Armerding are also three-fifths of Barnstar! (their exclamation point, not mine). Cousins, who hails from Canada, performs solo as well as with numerous other musicians.
As is suggested by the name of the show, it was all cover songs. Each performer chose four songs on which they sang lead while the others provided instrumental and vocal support. I normally do not go out to hear cover bands; I would rather hear the original performer, but Under the Covers included songs from a span of decades and styles, with most of this group’s performances sounding quite different from the originals.
They began with the theme from Star Wars, replete with hats and, at the end, Cousins bearing a light saber with the house lights turned off. It was a fun way to start the show. From there, they took turns presenting the songs they chose.
They unleashed everything from Soundgarden (“Black Hole Sun”) to Portishead (“Rose”), Blake Mills (“Don’t Tell All Our Friends about Me”) to Eric Clapton (“Layla”). They also gave us wonderful renditions of tunes by Adele, Field Report, Beyoncé, and Brandi Carlile. As different as they sounded from the originals, all were recognizable.
Lori McKenna is one of the original members of this group, though she left a few years ago. This year, she won a Country Music Award and is nominated for a Grammy or two for “Girl Crush,” which she co-wrote for Little Big Town. On this night, the Under the Covers band honored McKenna by performing the song for their encore. What a way to end a stellar show! I’ll be back next year.