The Year’s Best Coverfolk, 2012: The Singles
(b-sides, deep cuts, YouTube one-offs, & more one-shot coverage)
As we noted late last week in The Year’s Best Coverfolk, Vol. 1: Tribute Albums and Cover Compilations, it’s been a reasonably good year for full-album coverage. But although tracks from tributes continue to overwhelm singletons in my collection, as in previous years, a significant majority of the songs that lingered came from a mixed bag of borderline genre albums and single shot coverfolk releases, via the usual sources: YouTube and Soundcloud, in-studio sessions, website and bandcamp singles, full folk albums, and more.
That we continue to find so much of our favorite coverage of the year outside the album-length covers collection is an ongoing testament to our folk-first, artist-centric approach here at Cover Lay Down. After all, the point of our biweekly forays into the folkworld is to introduce you to the best of the singer-songwriter, roots, americana, bluegrass, and contemporary folk rock and folkpop canon. Our nominal focus on coverage is, in the end, merely a vehicle, to provide an entry into the craft and appreciation of those artists through the comfort zone of familiar song. And that artists, knowing this, remain prone to cover a song or two along the way, granting both a sense of their sound and an exposition of their influence, continues to lend credence to this folk-first mandate.
We eschew ranking for single songs; you’ll not find hierarchies here. But I’m not so humble as to enjoy the challenge of creating the perfect mix of coverfolk, circa 2012. And so, once again, we’re offering a two-part compromise: the short, mostly tongue-in-cheek “Best Of” which appeared on Friday…and here, today, the piece de resistance: a 29-song set of our favorite and most-played tracks from this year’s vast collection of singletons and deep cuts, designed to be downloaded and played in order for maximum emotional impact.
Like so many of the songs we posted in part one of this dual reluctance, every one of them gives me chills. Taken together, subjective though they are, they offer a challenge to 2013 and beyond.
So download the full set, or pick and choose among the singletons. Compare them against last year’s mixtape, to see how our tastes have changed. Hit the links beside each track to learn more about these amazing artists, and their output, and their journeys.
May the coming year bring us evermore joy through shared culture and communion. And may this humble offering grace your ears and raise your spirit, for now and for years to come.
The Year’s Best Singles: A 2012 Coverfolk Mix [Zip!]
- The Honey Dewdrops: Bright Morning Stars (trad.) [via]
- Gibson Bull: Laura (orig. Bat For Lashes) [via]
- Hey Marseilles: True Love Will Find You In The End (orig. Daniel Johnston) [via]
- The Staves: Songbird (orig. Fleetwood Mac) [via]
- Bryan John Appleby: Duncan (orig. Paul Simon) [via]
- Brian Vander Ark w/ Lex Land: Sweetness Follows (orig. R.E.M.) [via]
- Cahalen Morrison & Eli West: Loretta (orig. Townes Van Zandt) [via]
- Infamous Stringdusters: Walking On The Moon (orig. The Police) [via]
- John Statz: Old Old Fashioned (orig. Frightened Rabbit) [via]
- David Pramik: I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (orig. U2) [via]
- Coty Hogue: I’m On Fire (orig. Bruce Springsteen) [via]
- Ben Howard: Dancing In The Dark (orig. Bruce Springsteen) [via]
- Julia Stone: Bloodbuzz Ohio (orig. The National) [via]
- Zella Day: 7 Nation Army (orig. White Stripes) [via]
- Amber Rubarth: Just Like A Woman (orig. Bob Dylan) [via]
- Susan Kane: Loser (orig. Grateful Dead) [via]
- Martha’s Trouble: You Are My Sunshine / Open Up Your Heart (orig. Oliver Hood / The Lancers) [via]
- Shovels & Rope: (What’s So Funny ’bout) Peace Love & Understanding (orig. Brinsley Schwarz) [via]
- Nathaniel Rateliff: If I Had No Place To Fall (orig. Townes Van Zandt) [via]
- Mindy Smith: No One Is To Blame (orig. Howard Jones) [via]
- Sarah Winters: S&M (orig. Rihanna) [via]
- Rani Arbo & Daisy Mayhem: East Virginia Blues (trad.) [via]
- Joshua Hyslop: Shelter From The Storm (orig. Bob Dylan) [via]
- The Big Bright: Don’t Change (orig. INXS) [via]
- Mumford & Sons w/ Jerry Douglas: The Boxer (orig. Simon & Garfunkel) [via]
- Rose Cousins w/ Mark Erelli: If I Should Fall Behind (orig. Bruce Springsteen) [via]
- Hannah Read: Quiet Joys Of Brotherhood (orig. Richard & Mimi Farina) [via]
- Laura Gibson: Down By The Riverside (trad.) [via]
- Hezekiah Jones: Last Parade On Ann Street (orig. Chris Bathgate) [via]
Cover Lay Down thrives throughout the year thanks to the support of artists, labels, promoters, and YOU. So do your part: listen, love, spread the word, and above all, purchase the music, the better to keep it alive.
And if, in the end, you’ve got goodwill to spare, and want to help keep the music flowing? Please, consider a year’s end contribution to Cover Lay Down. All gifts will go directly to bandwidth and server costs; all giftees will receive undying praise, and an exclusive download code for a special gift set of alternate favorites and rare 2012 covers otherwise unblogged.
Thanks, folks. May your days be merry and bright.