Twenty Years Later: The Lil’ Smokies Cover Counting Crows’ ‘A Long December’


Following last year’s successful Songs Of Their Own video series of artists covering songs by the Grateful Dead, the Twenty Years Later video series features some of JamBase’s favorite musicians recording songs released in 1996. Looking back, the music released 20 years ago proved to be critical in both rock ‘n’ roll history and particularly within the jam band scene. The year 1996 saw seminal albums released by Phish, Dave Matthews Band, Bela Fleck and The Flecktones, moe., The String Cheese Incident, the Disco Biscuits, Keller Williams, Galactic, Medeski Martin & Wood, God Street Wine, Strangefolk and The Slip, helping to solidify the maturing jam scene.

There were also influential records issued in 1996 by the likes of artists as diverse as Beck, Jamiroquai, Modest Mouse, Rage Against The Machine, Johnny Cash, Pearl Jam, Sting, Tool, 2Pac and many others. The Twenty Years Later video series takes a look back at those releases, with participating artists covering songs from albums turning 20 this year. For this installment, The Lil Smokies came to California to cover Counting Crows’ “A Long December.”

Following “Angels Of The Silences,” “A Long December” was released as the second single off of Counting Crows’ 1996 Gil Norton-produced sophomore LP Recovering The Satellites. Composed by Adam Duritz, the band’s frontman penned the song after a friend of his was hit by a car, referencing trips to the hospital to visit while his friend recovered. Duritz told Rolling Stone this about the meaning behind the track: “It’s a song about looking back on your life and seeing changes happening, and for once me, looking forward and thinking, ‘Ya know, things are gonna change for the better — ‘maybe this year will be better than the last.'”

Missoula, Montana-based The Lil’ Smokies made a recent trip to the West Coast, stopping by the JamBases offices in San Francisco along the way. The quintet made up of banjoist Matt Cornette, mandolinist Cameron Wilson, Dobro player Andy Dunnigan, bassist Scott Parker and guitarist Matthew Rieger offered an acoustic take on both “A Long December” and their unreleased original “The Gallery.” Watch below their Counting Crows cover followed by “The Gallery.”

[A Long December]

[The Gallery]

Head here to see all of the entries in the Twenty Years Later series. Stay on top of all of JamBase’s video content by subscribing to the official YouTube channel here.