Crowdfunding Campaigns of the Week: Willie Nile and Melissa Etheridge
The cover song is a tough thing to nail. Too close to the original and you risk leaving the audience wondering “why bother?” Too far removed from the original and you risk a backlash from fans who feel you’ve mangled their favorite work. But when a cover finds that sweet spot in between, think Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower” or Vaughan’s “Little Wing”, it’s a truly beautiful thing. Covers albums have become increasingly popular on crowdfunding sites as well, bringing not only the artist’s name to the conversation, but also the artist being covered. This week, I’ve got two covers albums to feature, from artists who are renowned enough to warrant covers albums of their own.
Anyone who has heard Melissa Etheridge’s brand of soulful blues rock will not be at all surprised that she was heavily influenced by the sounds of Memphis, especially the hybrid styles pioneered by Stax Records. Now Etheridge is taking a dive into those influences with MEmphis Rock and Soul. Etheridge re-imagines not only classics of the Stax era like “Respect Yourself”, “Born Under a Bad Sign”, and “Hold One, I’m Coming” but has also promised a few surprises from the depths of the Stax catalog, bringing to light some gems that might not have gotten their due. Backer rewards include signed copies of the album on CD or vinyl, a signed drum head, and a songwriting session with Etheridge.
There’s no artist who has been more covered than Bob Dylan, so another Dylan covers album could sound like overkill. But not when it comes from Willie Nile. Nile was discovered on the Greenwich scene that Dylan helped make famous. His career is the next generation of that movement. Nile is also, like Dylan, a celebrated songwriter in his own right. Now Nile is taking on his musical predecessor with Positively Bob: Willie Nile Sings Bob Dylan. Launched when Nile was invited to sing four songs at Dylan’s 75’s birthday celebration, Nile says the album came about when he realized how timely and relevant those songs were in today’s social and political environment, as much or more than when they were written. Backer rewards include an intimate New York concert where Nile will debut tracks from the new album, a tour of Greenwich Village with Nile, and a chance to introduce Nile at an upcoming show.