“A good song takes you far,” sang Jackson Browne on tour in the 70s. It’s true, and very strange-- how these little three-minute compositions crafted on a whim in a bedroom end up bringing us out on planes and highways, into bars and ballrooms and radio stations, pouring out our hearts and lungs for those who themselves were pulled out of their rooms and into the world by the power of song. Browne understood this: he himself was covering Danny O’Keefe’s perfect ode to the bizarre bittersweet life of a traveling musician, and when I listen to it crammed in a van full of instruments speeding across rainy Germany, it hits hard.
I have always played other people’s songs, alone and with friends, at home and on the road. I know our audiences’ main interest is in our original songs, and for that I’m honored. But I can’t seem to stop playing covers. Every time we are preparing to go on tour I can’t help assembling the Boy-Friends and demanding that we learn a new cover song to play live. I listen to so much great music and just ache to be able to inhabit it more fully. I want to be Beck or Melanie or Jackie Wilson. So this record is me playing dress-up, with the help of my incredible band. (Don’t miss that point-- the Boy-Friends are an incredible band that can do anything, without whom my voice would not be in your earholes.)
Thanks for indulging us in these cover versions, pieced together from studio recordings, recordings made on tour in backstage rooms and hotels, and a live show in Austria. I’d like to point out that we’ve included a song from every decade since rock’n’roll has been a viable marketing category, the 1950s through the 2010s. You are encouraged to look up the original versions if you’ve never heard them. They blew my mind.