Monday, February 16, 2009

Trains: Freight Train

Heather Waters: Freight Train (Fred Eaglesmith cover)


Kasey Chambers: Freight Train (Fred Eaglesmith cover)


Fred Eaglesmith: Freight Train


A collaborative post today -- which may be a first here at Star Maker Machine. First, regular reader Dave writes in with a Fred Eaglesmith cover after my own heart:

Heather Waters first EP included a release of this great cover of a Fred Eaglesmith train song. Heather was living in Boston at the time and working with a bluegrass band. She then moved to Nashville and recorded a CD called Shadow of You. In 2008, she released a CD called Propeller, and it won my Zemmy Award for CD of the Year.

Being a coverfan, with Dave's permission, I'm matching his alt-country submission with this wonderful cover of the same tune from Australian folk strummer Kasey Chambers, which appeared on the bonus disk released alongside her 2000 breakthrough release The Captain. The approach to coverage is surprisingly similar, but Kasey's voice is a bit more ragged and breathy; this, plus a folk twang, makes for a complimentary pair.

And what would the coverage be without the original? Long-standing Canadian roots-folkie Fred Eaglesmith knows trains well: he's a self-professed hobo who sponsors an annual train ride with his fans where other artists book yearly cruises. He's also a sorely underrated songwriter and performer who, with this year's Juno nomination for best Roots and Traditional Album of the Year, is finally starting to get the credit he deserves after over a decade of local fame and increasingly broad coverage from his peers.

In his own hands, Freight Train is a perfect introduction, all speed and grit and rail, a train out of control. The 2002 live-album cover I've included here is the earliest in-print version of the song available that I could find for download (see comments), and like his paintings -- that's his depiction of a prairie train above -- the song is gorgeous and raw, feedback and all. Here's hoping we have plenty more opportunity to feature his work in the future.

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