By Melissa Haklitch
Having grown up in a house where Led Zeppelin set the standard for what is Music (with a capital M), I was excited to see Jealous Butcher Records is releasing a compilation covers album with some of the band’s greatest hits.
Normally, I have some trepidation about modern bands trying to reproduce epic music that doesn’t need to be fooled around with. Led Zeppelin paved the way for a new genre of rock n’ roll in the late sixties and thereafter: they perfected the concept of “album-oriented rock”, gave rebellious young adults an outlet and a voice, and have undoubtedly become one of the most influential bands in music history.
Typically, when it comes to covers, I think that the original should be left alone. However, every once and while a covers album is released that brings something new to the table. Jealous Butcher Records has found that niche with From the Land of Ice and Snow: The Songs of Led Zeppelin. There are over 50 bands on this two-disc tribute who each bring something different to the originals. Rather than seeking out well-known, commercial artists to re-record the hits, Jealous Butcher went with “friends” to create a “community inspired collection of Zeppelin songs”. Instead of bands trying to outdo or change Zeppelin’s creative intent, these bands bring their own special sound to the already perfect tunes.
Artists on the album include The Clampitt Family, The Portland Cello Project, Arch Cape, The Long Winters, and Chris Walla.
While some of the tracks like “Whole Lotta Love”, and “Good Times Bad Times” kept to the traditional sound of Zeppelin’s heavy guitar riffs, quick tempo, and double tracked vocals, others chose the softer, acoustic side of Zeppelin. Amy Annelle & The Shishi Valley Boys‘ rendition of “Friends” has a completely different vocal sound and musical quality than that of John Bonham and the rest of the band, but still manages to maintain the sentiment of the original track.
I have found that when an artist, or a group of artists, cover a legendary band, they either try to make music as great as the original (and fail, because let’s face it: there will never be another John Bonham, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, or Elton John), or they change it entirely so that it is barely recognizable as the same song. Cat Power’s “The Covers Record” chose the latter route, and I feel she did a brilliant job and making them her own songs, completely stripping them of their original melodies and tempos, without ruining the feel that the originals captured so greatly.
From The Land of Ice and Snow proves to be similarly brilliant. There are a variety of tracks that hold true to the originals, but there are also several artists who used the original as a muse for their own rendition. Lana Rebel’s cover of “Black Dog” has a country, bluegrass feel to it, very unlike Zeppelin’s fast paced first production. Tu Fawning’s track “The Battle of Evermore” changed the song enough to own it, almost as if they had written it themselves.
Many tracks have a homestyle, relaxing feel to them, but maintain a very high-quality sound. Even Kelly Blair Bauman’s version of “Stairway to Heaven” brings a new flair to one of the most over-played songs in rock history.
From The Land of Ice and Snow is an excellent template for artists to use as they struggle to cover the most acclaimed music of our time. The album brings a fresh interpretation to a classic set of songs that hasn’t been seen in a long time. This album is truly a tribute — never losing sight of Led Zeppelin’s musical sentiment and skill. None of the tracks try to replace the hits with their own rendition; instead they pay homage to the legendary band.
Jealous Butcher Records has partnered with First Octave and a percentage of the profits from the album will be donated to help fund music programs in the Portland Public School system. The album will be released on October 12 to the public, but there is also an early release show on October 9 where you can pick up your copy a few days earlier. More information is listed on Jealous Butcher Records’ official website.
TRACK LISTING, DISC ONE:
1. Kind of Like Spitting: “Good Times Bad Times”
2. The Clampitt Family: “Babe, I’m Going To Leave You”
3. Portland Cello Project: “Dazed and Confused”
4. Nick Jaina: “Your Time Is Gonna Come”
5. Fuck’d upright: “Whole Lotta Love”
6. Adam Selzer: “Poor Tom”
7. Carcrashlander: “Nobody’s Fault But Mine”
8. Kaia: “Fool In The Rain”
9. Dan Jones: “Thank You”
10. Lackthereof feat. Pete McCracken: “Heartbreaker”
11. Knock Knock: “Moby Dick”
12. Super XX Man: “Out on the Tiles”
13. Amy Annelle & The Shishi Mountain Boys: “Friends”
14. Jeff London: “Tangerine”
15. Arch Cape: “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp”
16. Weinland: “Hey Hey What Can I Do”
17. Chris Walla: “In The Evening”
TRACK LISTING, DISC TWO:
18. Lana Rebel: “Black Dog”
19. Pellet Gun: “Rock and Roll”
20. Tu Fawning: “The Battle of Evermore”
21. Kelly Blair Bauman: “Stairway To Heaven”
22. Buellton: “Misty Mountain Top”
23. Rebecca Gates and the Consortium: “Four Sticks”
24. Johanna Kunin and Yikes Mountain: “Over The Hills and Far Away”
25. Testface: “No Quarter”
26. Laura Viers and Mount Analog: “The Ocean”
27. Beltdine: “Houses of the Holy”
28. Loch Lomond: “Kashmir”
29. The Long Winters: “In The Light”
30. M. Ward: “Bron-Yr-Aur”
31. Power of Country: “Down By The Seaside”
32. Parks and Recreation: “All Your Love”
33. Dave Depper: “I’m Gonna Crawl”