Cover Alerts 2018: 10 Standout Covers Of The Year

By Andy Kahn Dec 26, 2018 7:34 am PST

JamBase continues looking back at the year in music by revisiting 10 memorable cover performances that happened in 2018. This list is limited to officially released studio recordings of covers or live cover debuts that occurred over the past year. Check out complete coverage of covers performed live and in the studio in the JamBase Cover Alert section.

Tedeschi Trucks Band Covers Aretha Franklin

A few days after Aretha Franklin died in August at the age of 76, Tedeschi Trucks Band honored The Queen Of Soul at the start of their first set at the 2018 Lockn’ Festival in Arrington, Virginia. Frontwoman Susan Tedeschi sang a powerful debut rendition of Franklin’s early-career hit “I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You).” Watch the stirring tribute below:

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Tedeschi Trucks Band (See 207 videos)

Brandi Carlile Covers Leonard Cohen

The ongoing Spotify Singles series continues to be a source of outstanding covers, as evidenced by Brandi Carlile‘s contribution. Recorded during a live session at Spotify Studios in New York City, Carlile offered a live take on “The Joke,” from her multiple Grammy Award-nominated album, By The Way, I Forgive You. The singer-songwriter also performed Leonard Cohen’s beloved “Hallelujah,” listen here:

Ryley Walker Covers Dave Matthews Band

Perhaps the most adventurous entry in this list is Ryley Walker‘s full album of Dave Matthews Band covers, The Lillywhite Sessions. “It was a blast to really dig into those songs,” Ryley told The JamBase Podcast. “It was the most fun I’ve had – obviously the source material is there, the lyrics and the melodies are there. So we just kind of got to put our own little twist on them, and it was a blast.” Recorded with Andrew Scott Young and Ryan Jewell, the album uses the leaked DMB studio recordings made with producer Steve Lillywhite in 1999 and 2000 that ended up in part on the 2002 album Busted Stuff.

Keller Williams’ Pettygrass Covers Tom Petty

Earlier this year, Keller Williams recruited The HillBenders to perform the music of late rock legend Tom Petty. Bassed on “PettyGrass” demos shared by Williams shortly after Petty’s death in 2017, the pair of acts came together to play the rootsy arrangments live as Keller Williams’ PettyGrass. For a sampling of the tributes, here’s a collaborative live rendition of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ “Even The Losers”:

Trampled By Turtles Cover Tom Petty

“I love music, so it’s so fun to play songs that we love and try to find our own voice in doing that,” said Trampled by Turtles frontman Dave Simonett regarding playing covers during his appearance on The JamBase Podcast. TBT recorded a cover of Tom Petty’s “Wildflowers” for Record Store Day in April. Originally issued as a 7-inch vinyl single backed by the title track to their 2018 album Life Is Good On The Open Road, the group later issued the cover digitally as well. Check it out here:

John Prine Covers Stevie Wonder

Another entry in the above-mentioned Spotify Singles series was a session by acclaimed singer-songwriter John Prine. Prine (who you’ll see is often on the other side of covering songs) performed “I Have Left My Love Today,” one of the songs on his album The Tree Of Forgiveness that was issued this year featuring the 72-year-old’s first new original material in 13 years. Prine’s Spotify Singles live session was held in Nashville at historic RCA Studio A — where The Tree Of Forgivenes was recorded with producer Dave Cobb — and accompanied by The Secret Sisters. Listen to Prine’s reworking of Stevie Wonder’s 1984 hit “I Just Called To Say I Love You”:

Fruition Covers John Prine

Fruition added a song from John Prine’s The Tree Of Forgiveness to their live repertoire. Prine’s “Summer’s End” made its debut in September during Fruition’s performance The Back Room at Collectivo in Milwaukee. The song, which earned Prine and co-writer Pat McLaughlin a Grammy Award nomination for Best American Roots Song, was sung by Fruition’s Mimi Naja. Pro-shot video of the cover debut posted by JamGrassTV is below:

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Fruition (See 109 videos)

moe. Covers ‘Zelda’

Wearing costumes based on classic video games, moe. celebrated Halloween in 2018 with a concert on October 27 at The Fillmore Philadelphia. Billed as “A Night At The Arcade” the show in Philly included altered lyrics referencing classic arcade games like Donkey Kong, Frogger and Super Mario Bros., in addition to arcade-centric covers of themes and songs from Nintendo, SEGA and other old-school console games. The group also debuted a mashup of the theme from the video game The Legend Of Zelda and their original “Zed Naught Z,” which was dubbed “Zelda Naught Z.” Watch the mashup here:

moe. (See 88 videos)
moe. (See 258 videos)

Ween Covers Outkast

When Ween rolled into Atlanta to play The Tabernacle for the final two shows of their Fall Tour, they made a point pay tribute a pair of local legends during the second night. Local ATLiens, the legendary hip-hop duo OutKast were honored with Ween’s lone cover of the mega-hit “Hey Ya!” Here’s video of the debut cover featuring Mickey “Dean Ween” Melchiondo on acoustic and lead vocals captured side-stage by Monica Hampton:

Pearl Jam Covers David Bowie

In August, Cubs fan and Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder returned to Wrigley Field for the band’s first performances at the team’s historic home stadium since the club’s 2016 World Series win, ending a 100+ year drought. At the start of the second encore on the first night, Vedder brought out Cubs owner Tom Ricketts who brought with him the 2016 World Series trophy. The hardware was placed on stage and remained there while Vedder led his band mates on their first live rendition of David Bowie’s “Rebel Rebel.” Here’s pro-shot footage of “Rebel Rebel”:

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