Sunday, May 22, 2011

Go By Train Jazzes Up "Everlong"

gbt

Portland jazz trio Go By Train is releasing a new CD called Transmission tomorrow and I got to interview them for a story for The Oregonian. It was fun to reconnect with them--I first covered the band for Willamette Week five years ago.

There's one thing that didn't make it into the story: Go By Train does an amazing cover of "Everlong" by the Foo Fighters on the record. The band exhibits such a knack for melody that it should come as no surprise that guitarist Dan Balmer and keyboardist Clay Giberson are fans of pop music. “Music still hits me like it did when I was a child,” says Balmer. “The right song will leave me riveted, wanting to hear it over and over again.”

Back in 1995, Balmer remembers “Everlong” coming on the radio and having that effect on him. He says, “Some songs it wouldn't matter how it was recorded,” so GBT adapted this rocker into a slow duet for piano and guitar. Their interpretation has so much space it's heartbreaking, and it brings out some complexities in the song structure that are easier to miss with distorted guitar powering through it. Take a listen:



Transmission is available at Music Millennium in Portland. For more GBT, visit Dan Balmer's website.

And here's a silly behind-the-scenes video about the album.

2 comments:

  1. "it brings out some complexities in the song structure that are easier to miss with distorted guitar powering through it."

    Looks like someone had a problem listening to Jimi Hendrix

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  2. Actually I LOVE Jimi Hendrix. My band covered some of his songs as a teenager and I've had his image on my wall for half my life.

    Distortion places power over subtlety. It's a tradeoff. Jimi went with whatever fit the song best. Not all of his tunes used heavy distortion ("Wind Cries Mary," "Angel," "Little Wing").

    In this case, GBT's softer rendition brought out elements of "Everlong" I'd never noticed before, mostly how interesting the chord structure is behind the verses. It kind of sounds like one chord in the FF version if you're not listening real closely, but you can't miss the changes in this bare-bones cover.

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