Sunday, July 4, 2010

Joni Covers: All I Want

Holly Brook: All I Want

[unreleased; more Holly Brook here]

Jay Brannan: All I Want


Natalie Merchant: All I Want

[out of print; more Natalie Merchant here]

We have an unwritten rule of sticking to older, more classic recordings here on Star Maker Machine. But as caretaker for the collaborative, I'm hereby declaring all eras on the table for the week - after all, in the case of coverage, it's the originals that are timeless.

And how else to showcase a song that seems to work best in the hands of an under-thirty new generation? For though I very much like 32-year-old Natalie Merchant's 1995 conga-driven acoustic-funkified b-side, two relatively recent takes on one of my favorite Joni songs have turned out to be my favorites, simply by turning up the sweetness and light on one of the most cheerful songs in the canon.

Twenty year old Holly Brook's live rarity, recorded backstage at SXSW 2006 for MVYRadio, is airy and innocent and utterly gorgeous, proving that the appalachian dulcimer - Joni's chosen instrument for her own original - does delicacy, too. Meanwhile, YouTube-driven fan favorite Jay Brannan, recording last year for his mostly-covers second studio release at 27, goes for the slow and languid approach, transforming the chord-oriented original into fingerplucked gold, his pure, gentle voice cutting through the clutter of wistful, innocent love.

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