Free Download: Now here’s a groove slightly transformed…

A bit of a break from the norm… Folk rockers Fort Frances give their rendition of a classic Fresh Prince tune … and it is phenomenal!

Fort Frances is a great little Midwest indie-folk-rock act.  The band’s lead singer, David McMillin, is one of my favorite songwriters of all time – as well as one of the most prolific.  So color me intrigued a few months ago when the boys started doing a series of cover songs.  They show off their musical influence range with these songs, doing versions of Beck, Paul Simon and Daniel Johnston tunes so far. They’re cleverly marketing them and I look forward to each new edition.

But today’s Fort Frances cover took the cake.  It is, quite simply, BAD ASS. “Summertime.”  Yes.  The DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince classic.  Turned on its head and folk-ified and so deliriously delicious that it will make your head spin.  And you can have it for free.

So, go grab it up, crank the volume, put your car on cruise and lay back … ’cause after all, it’s the summertime.

(P.S.  If you dig what the boys are doing, you can get their original song “Hard Earned Heart” for free, too.)

More Fort Frances:  Web | Facebook | Twitter | Download the Fort Frances Album The Atlas on iTunes

For My Fellow Counting Crows Fans, A Lovely Cover

There is a small pantheon of songwriters in my world order that is absolutely sacred… I sorta feel like sometimes, you just shouldn’t mess with greatness.  At the very top of that list is Adam Duritz from Counting Crows. There is no other songwriter whose lyrics I identify with more… That said, it’s hard for someone else’s version of a Counting Crows song to grab me immediately. In fact, I can’t really think of one…

But, there’s a first time for everything.

Seven or eight months back, I got switched on to a band from New Zealand called Midnight Youth (see previous blogs here and here ).  Their 2011 album World Comes Calling rocked my world so hard that it made #2 album on the Best of 2011 list. I started following their lead singer, Jeremy Redmore, on Twitter.  He’s fairly interactive there and writes a lot on his own personal blog…which is where I was visiting this evening, listening to a demo he posted from the road.  That’s when I noticed another link on his SoundCloud page that said “Goodnight Elisabeth.”   Clicked and yup, it is indeed a Counting Crows cover.

And it’s really, really freaking good.  Heart wrenching and beautiful – an exceptional take on the original.  I love when an artist can take a song, cover it and maintain the integrity of the original while at the same time making it their own.  Jeremy’s definitely done that on his cover.

Bonus (and this is why I love Twitter!)… Asked him about it on Twitter, and he just made it downloadable for fans!  Ya’ll need to go listen and snatch it up now. Just hit the little down arrow to the right in the player below (you may need to sign in or set up a SoundCloud account).

While you’re at it, check out his band, Midnight Youth.  Guarantee you will love ’em.

Midnight Youth: Web | Facebook | Twitter

Carbon Leaf Strikes Back for Texas

What do you get when two of your top 10 favorite bands go on tour and start a YouTube video battle covering each other’s songs? Well, besides a happy Krissie, you get a challenge to help a much needed cause.

After Alpha Rev covered Carbon Leaf’s “Let Your Troubles Roll By,” Carbon Leaf decided to strike back and post a video of them covering Alpha Rev’s “Black Sky.” (video below)

If you’ve been living in the dark, Texas had a severe drought this summer and the excessively dry conditions sparked raging wildfires around the state.  Alpha Rev lent their song “Black Sky” to a couple of causes promoting wildfire relief funds.

And here’s where Carbon Leaf ups the cool factor: They are giving away their cover of the song for free and encouraging fans to make donations to one of two Texas wildfire relief funds if they download the song.

That’s seriously amazing.  So I downloaded the song and donated $5 to the Texas Wildfire Relief Fund (you can also give to Pass the Hat for Texas) I don’t live in Texas.  But, some of my best friends and best bands do and I love the city of Austin like it’s my home.  Not only that, but if North Carolina were to go up in flames, I’d like to think that others around the country would support the firefighters here as they battled to save land, people and property. I challenge all of my friends, fellow music junkies, Carbon Leaf or Alpha Rev fans to make a donation to one of these causes.  A) Because its the right thing to do and B) Because these artists are insanely cool for using their time and talents to bring attention to the cause.

Then go support these incredible artists on tour.