If you’ve been reading the paper, you know The Once are on a world-wide tour with Passenger. While on tour, they’ve banded together to record a series of classic covers, befitting of the city they’re in as they sweep across The States.
They’ve been releasing these covers about once a week, starting with John Prine’s epic, “Angel from Montgomery.” The project’s aim is to “document our travels and give you guys a little insight into what we’re up to.”
They recorded “Angel from Montgomery” in Nashville, because Passenger frontman Michael Rosenberg was in Nashville six or seven years ago, and went looking for John Prine himself. “It was good fun and a great learning experience, but also a bit of a weird time as I didn’t really know anyone, so I found myself with time to kill.” To kill that time he decided to go meet John Prine “and play him some songs … whether he liked it or not … god that sounds really creepy!”
“When I finally turned up at John Prine’s record label, I was a sweaty and sunburnt mess but elated that I’d finally made it. I pressed the buzzer and to my disappointment found out that John was in Chicago . I still hope that i can one day meet john but for now this will have to do.”
“The idea,” Rosenberg says, “is that each song will in some way be linked to the place we’re playing in – for example it could be the artist/band’s hometown, or the song will reference the city in some way, or it may have a personal story attached to it.
They recorded Simon & Garfunkel’s “Only Living Boy in New York” in New York, for example.
One of my favourite spots on earth,” says Rosenberg, “[is] New York’s Central Park … Central Park has always amazed me as one minute you can be in the hustle and bustle of the city and the next thing you know you’re in this beautiful green expanse. I love it … Secondly, growing up, my favourite album was Simon and Garfunkle Live in Central Park . We used to listen to it over and over again in the car to the point that the cassette broke and the sound went all wobbly.”
One of the most recent covers to emerge has been a version of “Nothing Compares to You,” in Minneapolis: home of the man who wrote the song, not the woman who made it popular (Sinead O’Connor).
“Prince is originally from this city and made this venue famous by playing it a bunch of times, and also shooting scenes here from his movie Purple Rain. It was pretty surreal to be playing this song in a dressing room that he must have been in so many times. This one has a very different feel to the other videos – Bryan decided to shoot it in black and white, and I think it gives it a really great quality.”
“Also, Geri is taking the lead for this one, as it was Sinead O’Connor’s version that became such an enormous hit. I need to say that vocally this is possibly one of the most difficult songs that we could have picked and Geri absolutely nailed it. She is a phenomenal talent, as are Phil and Andrew, so please, if you haven’t done so already – please check out The Once and their new record Departures!”
Lastly, here’s a super gem: A cover of a Chicago song, in Chicago