Steve Carlson has a voice that transcends genres, bridging the gap between country, blues, and rock, so a cover album with an eclectic mix seems like a perfect match for his sound. And that’s exactly what he offers with his latest album, Sharing the Covers. Carlson puts his unique spin on a variety of songs, often with surprising results!
Carlson’s take on the 1973 Slade classic rock hit “Come On Feel The Noise” is done in a haunting ballad style with a simple piano accompaniment, building to a beautiful crescendo backed by strings. While taking the song in a completely different direction to how the original was written, Carlson makes it instantly recognisable and I found myself able to sing along the first time I heard it!
Sam Cooke’s “Bring It On Home” is a favourite song of mine in its original form and Carlson “brings home” a beautiful version, sticking very close to the original with just a touch of a country flair.
Carlson invited a couple of friends to perform on his album and both bring unique sounds that compliment the album greatly. Elisabeth Harnois (CSI, Ten Inch Hero) sings a powerful rendition of The Black Keys’ “Little Black Submarine”. Her voice was a huge surprise to me; powerful with an amazing, bluesy Dolly Parton-esque timbre and when she hits the higher registers I literally get goose bumps.
Jensen Ackles (Supernatural) sings a beautiful version of Elliott Smith’s “Angeles”. I was not familiar with the original but Ackles’ naturally husky voice lends itself perfectly to this tale of artists’ struggles. An acoustic version with Ackles showcasing his guitar skills and Carlson accompanying on the mandolin, it is both stirring and breath-taking.
Carlson’s Blues version of “That’s Alright” is a little slower than the original but captures the toe-tapping infectious nature that Elvis Presley brought to his music and is difficult to listen to without a smile on your face!
The beautiful acoustic rendition of “Wonderful Tonight” stays close to the Eric Clapton’s universally loved release but Carlson takes a sultry Blues turn with his interpretation of Van Morrison’s “Goodbye Baby”.
With every track, Steve Carlson gives us a new insight into his own personal vision of classic tunes, making them his own completely while showing respect for the original artists.
The entire album is currently on repeat in my car and I don’t see that changing any time soon. Fans of Steve Carlson will be familiar with the quality of the work here but can enjoy the diversity that “Sharing the Covers” brings. And it’s a perfect introduction to anyone unfamiliar with Carlson’s previous work; one that will surely make new fans of anyone that listens.
Sharing the Covers can be purchased on iTunes and Amazon.
Portions of the proceeds from the sale of Elisabeth Harnois’ track “Little Black Submarines” will go to the Pablove Foundation http://pablove.org/.