I’ve made a collection of cover songs, and you can listen to it as of now on Bandcamp. I had lots of help from Mike Belyea (Mickii Bellier), Tim Crabtree (Paper Beat Scissors), and Laurel Sprengelmeyer (Little Scream). Artwork by Jon Claytor (look at each song’s page for individual water colours).
Enjoy and thank you for listening.
I think the biggest lesson I learned from making this record is that interpretation is creation.
These are 14 songs I love, written by some of my favourite artists. I wanted to see what they could teach me, and also what I could bring to them.
This whole thing feels quite personal. Even though I believe that songs are for sharing, I don’t sing a lot of covers. Often I feel strange trying to embody the sentiments of others (a voice is such a personal thing). I have lots of favourites, but the ones comprised here are some that I found myself able to sing. That is to say, they felt convincing coming from me.
Normally I write and perform my own songs, or collaborate with others on their material. The original reason I got into music was to make songs, and I never really went through a period of learning by playing the music of others. This approach has given me my own impressionistic style. There is something special about stepping back now, and applying my way of creating to the unique works of others. I wanted to know some of my favourite songs in a new way.
When you get to know someone really well, your language starts to change. You begin to paraphrase your own thoughts. You become at once lazier and more precise. You take liberties, omit some details and embellish others. Somehow, all of this improvisation is part of an effort to be better understood. My songs contain some of this flexibility – not just lyrically but in the relationship between the words and music as well. I’ve tried to tap into that spirit in my relationship with these songs.
I intended Translations to be listened to as an album. It feels helpful to keep the songs in conversation with one another. I collected and assembled the songs, and I invite you to listen to find your own connections.