Every day for the entire month, we’ll be asking (and publishing) 31 musicians the same question. This month, the question is: You’re playing a show in which you’re covering an album from beginning to end. What record do you choose to interpret?
Day 2, we get the answer from Foxtrot Uniform psych-blues frontman Kenny Uptain.
For a complete list of other answers, find the main Month of May page here.
Jesus that’s a tough question man. The answer to this might change every few hours. I’ve been huge on Paul McCartney’s Ram and Lennon’s Imagine as of late. I do think that I’ll have to give this to the old boogie bed head from Tulsa…JJ Cale and his debut album Naturally. There’s never getting enough of that one, and also I think that one is actually possible to cover with our instrumentation.
Naturally has that first version of “After Midnight,” which is a bit more of a slow burning jam than the rocking Clapton cover version. Where do you think you’d take that song?
I love his version of every song he did much better than any cover version. We actually do cover this song and the only thing different is the key we play it in. There’s something so difficult in the perfect execution of such a mellow song like that.
What song do you think you’d have the most trouble covering?
Hmm. They would all bring different challenges. “Clyde” with its’ fiddle parts. “Nowhere to Run” with its’ sax opening. I think “Woman I Love” would be the most trouble just because it’s so goddamn funky. Great horn parts, crazy harmonica throughout and a solid ass beat.
I haven’t listened to this record in forever and put it on this afternoon after you sent your answer over. I agree, it’d be something I could easily seeing you guys doing well with. Do you think you’d try and stay as true to the record as possible or try and reinvent the record to suit Foxtrot Uniform?
We would reinvent for it hands down. I’ve found myself doing nothing more this past year than trying to figure out how to be more like JJ Cale. There would of course be elements of us that would make their way through, but I would stay as believable to this work as I could.
Have you guys ever covered anything from Naturally before?
We have. There’s a rock assembly held every year in Fort Worth where a local artist picks a musical act from the ’60s on to cover for an entire 45-minute set. This year, we have picked Mr. Cale. Every song is off of this record or Troubadour…another one of my favorites. We have lined up some incredible talent to fill in on horns and fiddle. Very excited about that.
With Cale being one of the most underrated musicians in music, did that aspect factor into it being your choice?
Not particularly. Someone else’s rating system for music has never factored highly into what moves me at a certain point in time. It’s usually a record at a friend’s when you’re too high and drunk for your own good that will ultimately change your life in my experience. Mr. Cale had a few opportunities for major success in his career and always did the thing your heart would want to do, but your pride might not allow. In every circumstance he was right. Right as a human being and as an artist. Fame was not a motivator in his career. I love that. I love that he has the balls to be so mellow…and by doing so comes off as so rock and roll. God Bless JJ Cale.