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 3 for the Month of May is singer-songwriter Kirby Brown.
For a complete list of other answers, find the main Month of May page here.
Brown’s following up his 2011 album Child of Calamity with a new EP that he’s currently Kickstarting. Find more information on the TBD release and Kickstarter campaign, click here. Like Brown on Facebook here. Follow him on Twitter here. Watch/Listen to “Young! Young! Young!” below.
It might depend on where I’m playing, but most likely John Prine’s eponymous debut album. The entire record he disarms you with his humor just long enough to stab you in the gut with the good stuff. I love it front to back, which I can’t say about a lot of records.
Do you think you’d stay as true to the record as possible or think you’d really try and reinvent the songs?
I think one of the major strengths of Prine’s songs is that they are so malleable. It doesn’t matter how you treat them, there’s always a great song there. The proof of that is in the many people who’ve covered them over the years. For me, I think finding a way to make them my own would be a fun exercise creatively.
Have you ever covered any of these in front of an audience before?
I’ve covered several of them, actually. “Angel From Montgomery,” “Illegal Smile,” “Hello In There,” and I’ve done a really grooving version of “Pretty Good” with a band too.
What song do you think you’d have the most trouble with?
The struggle with any cover is in making sure that your version honors the original. For that reason I’d never want to cover Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone.” Songs like that I feel like are really hard to add anything too. On Prine’s first record, one of my favorites is “Far From Me.” It’s such a distinctly sublime execution, so I would be nervous enough to take extra care with that one.
How many records did you think about before going with John Prine?
So many! Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers, Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited, Randy Newman’s Rednecks, Townes’ Live at the Old Quarter. There are so many good options.
This record is a really calls for an intimate setting. Would you opt for a smaller venue for it or more of a theater type space?
I feel like my answer here hearkens back to some of my responses above. I feel like the venue would play heavily into which record I would wanna do in full. With Prine’s first record, I think as long as it’s a crowd of intent listeners, it doesn’t matter how big or small the audience is. Obviously, the more people you can effectively share the experience with, the better.