Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Podcast Review - Coverville

One of the longest-running podcasts I listen to is Coverville. Brian Ibbott has been producing and hosting the program since 2004, and it's only gotten better of the last 550+ episodes.

The concept of the podcast is pretty simple: play only cover versions of other artists' songs. Sometimes the cover's by major artist interpreting a colleague's work. Sometimes it's a smaller indie band changing a song around to express their own artist vision

Ibbott, who at one time was a wedding DJ, has an ear for selecting the covers that are worth listening to, and arranging them in a podcast to have some sort of logical and pleasing flow. His goal (as he's said many times), is to present covers that give the listener a different insight into the song. So tribute bands need not apply. Note-perfect covers simply don't appear on this program.

Instead, Ibbott gives the listener rock songs reinterpreted as bluegrass numbers, fast tunes slowed down and slow songs played uptempo. Simple songs are developed into lush, complicated arrangements, and sophisticated melodies are stripped down to their essence.

Along the way I've discovered quite a lot of the artists I know, and found out about quite a few artists I'de never heard of before (but have since sought out to hear more of).

Over the years, Ibbot's developed some on-going themes that also help give the program cohesion. There're the "Cover Story" shows, which take a particular artist and present cover versions of their material. And occasionally there's an Originalville special. Sometimes it's the cover version that becomes the hit, not the original recording -- Originalville features those earlier (and unknown) versions.

Over the past few years, Ibbott's even mounted a Coverville Idol competition, inviting bands to submit covers based around a theme. And there's the year-end countdown of the 50 most requested covers of the year, with Ibbott covering Kasey Kasem!

The program's a lot of fun, and gives you a solid 45 minutes of well-played music -- even if it's not entirely familiar.

Count me as a proud citizen of Coverville -- resident since 2004!

And remember, you don't need an iPod to listen to a podcast. Just download to your computer and enjoy.

- Ralph

Day 333 of the WJMA Web Watch. (No, they don't play covers, either.)

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