Friday, September 21, 2012


Listening To: Live and Die by The Avett Brothers
Line Obsession: “Yes ma'am," I said, "Anna Celeste's party is Saturday, but I don't need a ride.... No ma'am. It's because Anna Celeste is my Sworn Enemy for Life and I'd rather go face-down in a plate of raw chicken entrails than go to her party. Plus I'm not invited....” - from Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

Biscuit is helping me blog. By sleeping on my wrist.
Sometimes when I'm in traffic or in a waiting room with no book (one of those rare instance when I have nothing to read), I let my mind wonder toward perfect Duets.

Duets is when I think about songs I like, particularly songs that aren't super-hot right now (ie: 90% of my playlist), and I try to pair up my favorite musicians to sing that song. My favorite duet that I've come up with so far would be this:

What would happen if my Avett Brothers ...

Paired up with Rhiannon Giddens of the Carolina Chocolate Drops to sing Seven Spanish Angels?


Both bands could play together on the song and it would be amazing. And then Scott and/or Seth and Rhiannan could handle the lyrics. Or maybe not "handle" the lyrics. I want them to sing it together because they'd totally rough up the lyrics. Because the way all of them sing always sounds like hope and frustration and longing, to me. Good love songs sound like all of those things.

Random Trivia: Seven Spanish Angles is one of the most played songs on my iPod. If you've never paid much attention to the lyrics, I would recommend doing that. If you close your eyes and listen to them (preferably not while you're driving), you'll realize you feel them as much as you hear them. I've heard it done slow, like Willie and Ray Charles sing it. I've also heard a bluegrass band cover it. And I've decided no matter how that song is played - whether the lyrics are carried on the desperate whim of a piano or surrounded by plucky banjo-bursts, it's still a perfect, perfect song. It's romantic and desperate and brave and depressing and everything I love in a love song. I don't think anybody could sing it better than Ray Charles.

But the point of a cover is never to sing it better. It's just to offer up another version.

Can you imagine The Avetts and Rhannon Giddens singing it? I'd never recover. 

I haven't listened to tons of music from The Carolina Chocolate Drops, but I'm a fan of their sound. Their style reminds me more of the bluegrass I grew up listening to at my grandparents' house than lots of what I hear now. And I'm not complaining; I love the way new generations filter traditional music of any kind. I'm usually more a fan of bluegrass-infused music, or bands that pull heavily from that style but blend it with their own sound (like my Avetts, Nickel Creek, Mumford, Apache Relay, The Wailin Jenny's, etc.). The Carolina Chocolate Drops do that too, but they've got such a clear, classic sound as well. My favorite song they've done is called Pretty Bird. But I also like Leaving Eden, Snowden's Jig, and a song called Riro's House. And really, they make the kind of CD's that you could listen to as a soundtrack. I think I described their style once as "Lauren Hill meets Ralph Stanley ..." which I mean as the highest of compliments (but maybe that just sounds redunkulous?). This is why I don't write about music. ;)

And. The Carolina Chocolate Drops are also responsible for this (ie: one of the coolest song covers ever): 

Of course, my other great Duet would be Lady Gaga and Kenny Rogers singing "Love Can Build a Bridge." Or singing anything, really.

This question will require some brainpower, but can you think of a pairing you'd love to see in a duet? Do you have a favorite song cover? 

This weekend I'm seeing The Perks of Being a Wallflower and eating lots of Italian food. And I hope your weekend is just as delightful. ;) Happy Friday to you! :)

P.S.This: made me smile so hard my face still hurts. And then, like a little kid, I ran to show my mom. Ha :) Also, it's proof that I have the most amazing agent ever. (When she calls, the pic that pops up on my phone is Wonder Woman.) If you're interested in any aspect of publishing, and want to be involved with it someday, you should check out New Leaf Literary's Tumblr. So many great questions roll in, and the answers are always smart, interesting, and encouraging. 


  1. I loooooove Carolina Chocolate Drops. They opened for Grace Potter and the Nocturnals last year and blew me away. I already liked their music but the live performance was absolutely electrifying. If any or all of them paired with Avett Brothers, my mind would surely explode.

  2. I really can't think of any duets I'd like to see! Ha. That's probably because my taste in music is so strange. I couldn't exactly see Sinatra teaming up with the Avett Brothers, even if he was still around. :)

    I don't know if this counts as a cover, but I love almost every version of White Christmas. My two favorites are Bing's version and the Drifters' version, which are almost complete opposites.


  3. Oh gosh, now that's an exciting question I would love to answer, but sadly I can't think of anything at the moment. Just submitted my first college essay and I'm brain dead. But maybe I will get back to you. And I am very ashamed to admit it but I've never read Perks. I've always wanted to. I've always meant to. But I never have. I'll probably end up seeing the movie first, which bugs me but I'm sure that's the way it'll go. I think I'm going with a bunch of other girls that never read the book. Oh the shame to not be the literary ones for once in the theater!

  4. I think Caleb Grimm from Anthem Lights and Taylor Swift would sound pretty great together doing a cover of Come Home by Onerepublic.
    Right now my favourite covers that are being done are by Anthem Lights. Another one (I'm not really sure if this counts as a cover. It's a traditional Irish song) is Dobbin's Flowery Vale by Rajaton.