Under the Covers (w/Video)Posted on March 28, 2011
The sun is coming out in San Francisco again. It's been a long, wet month of March. One particularly rainy night I was in Berkeley to play a show called "Under the Covers" hosted and organized by Kate Burkart (she played too!). The show took place at the Berkeley Art House Gallery and Cultural Center and consisted of three Bay Area singer/songwriters covering the artist of their choice. So, Kate Burkart covered Lucinda Williams, Melissa Phillips and James Deprato covered Tom Petty and I covered Neil Young.
Learning other artists' music was how I learned to play the guitar and was probably a major influence in the way I construct songs. In fact, I don't think I wrote a song for the first two or three years I started playing music. Just tried to soak in as much as I could from those I admired through internalizing their music - words and melodies. Somewhere along the way though I felt compelled to put my own words down and find my own voice through melodies. The whole process of songwriting is an exploration and something that feels true to me. For some folks truth is excercise, for others it's carpentry. Some find in business or religion, some find it in nature or love. But it seems everyone finds their own way to make sense of the world. For me, writing songs felt like a way to be free so the more I did it, the farther I got from covering other artists' work.
Neil Young was certainly one of the artists that inspired me by demonstrating what was possible within a song. Listening to his music early on really drew me in and learning his songs absolutely helped shape me as a musician. His approach to songwriting and playing sounds and feels so organic. The music seems more like something that flows through him rather than something he tries to do or control. I notice something similar when I write. It's a feeling more than anything else that is captured in a song. It's a moment in time. By accepting it and not trying to force it in any direction something happens, subconscious and true.
It was really difficult to choose a setlist for the show. Neil Young's career spans like six decades. But, I definitely had some favorites that I wanted to include. The set list is below. I've also included some videos from the night shot by Tom Nowak (thanks, Tom!).
Heart of Gold
My My, Hey Hey
Needle and the Damage Done
Hangin' On a Limb
When God Made Me
So thankful to Kate for the opportunity to get into these songs and be a part of such a great show. Kate played as a trio and covered some of the greatest Lucinda tunes. The influence was clear and beautiful in Kate's style (her performance of "Reason To Cry" was a highlight for me!). Melissa and James really had everyone in the room engaged. It felt like we were all part of the music. That's the point I suppose. Check out their music!
- Melissa Phillips (http://www.myspace.com/melissaphillipsmusic)
- Kate Burkart (http://kateburkart.com/)
Until next time...
Photo Credit - Vic Owens
Video Credit - Tom Nowak