Dizzy Spins: The Band of Heathens | Remote Transmissions, Vol. 1
Classic rock covers with all-star guests.
Cover songs come in two categories. Those that are re-imagined and those that stay close to the original work.
Originally from Austin, but now with members spread around the country, The Band of Heathens released an album of familiar classic rock covers that closely adhere to the original arrangements. It was a project born out of the pandemic, when the band launched The Good Time Supper Club, a weekly show where band members would take turns playing songs. It evolved to become a 90-minute variety show of sorts that also included poetry and interviews with other musicians. Fans started looking forward to the release of each new episode.
Eventually, they decided to record songs as a full band, with each member playing their part at home and then mixing them into a video performance. Then they asked their musician friends to join them for a segment of the show called "Remote Transmissions." Some of those songs make up the tracks on the late February release Remote Transmissions, Vol. 1.
The songs are road-tested radio favorites. There likely isn't a song on it you can't sing along with. Singer/guitarist Gordy Quist says they usually try to make cover songs their own, but with the time crunch of getting a song ready to release each week, it was necessary to have familiar parts to work on. It was a winning strategy.
From the lead track, the Little Feat song Rock and Roll Doctor featuring James Petralli of White Denim, you can tell how much fun everyone was having. The arrangement is intact, but it shines with new life.
Nicki Bluhm sings the Rolling Stones classic Tumblin' Dice. Her southern inspired voice fits the song nicely and provides a counterpoint to the the Jagger vocals we're all used to.
You can tell from his own writing that Todd Snider really gets where Guy Davis was coming from and it shows when he takes the mic on LA Freeway. It's kind of a shame they never collaborated but now we have an idea of how that may have sounded.
The Temptations classic Papa Was A Rolling Stone gets a bit more gritty as sung by the legendary country bluesman Ray Wylie Hubbard. On the new release by Hubbard, Co-Starring Too, The Band of Heathens joins him for a tune returning the favor.
Known for his own confessionals and introspective deep dives, Hayes Carll seems right at home on the Dylan tune Man in Me. The hook in this song has always been the backing vocal arrangement, and The Band of Heathens pulls it off nicely.
The Bob Seger coming of age tune Night Moves is a song I assumed I didn't need to hear any more. Not that it isn't a good song, it just fell off my radar. With guest vocals by Butch Walker, The Band of Heathens makes me like it all over again.
Remote Transmissions, Vol. 1 is a fun, well-crafted covers album. Hearing it is a bit like putting new soles on an old comfy pair of shoes and going for a walk reminiscing about where they'd taken you.