Tell me what to play...

Well, usually people come in here asking for song suggestions to listen to. I’ve even done it. This thread is a little different.

[quick back-story]
I’m a musician, but have been out of work for some time due to completely ridiculous work and school schedules and my wife and I having a baby. I play by myself, just me and a 6 or 12 string acoustic, and usually play a mix of about half covers and half originals (it changes show by show, but in general). Some of the covers I play are by Jack Johnson, Goo Goo Dolls, Matt Nathanson, and Howie Day. Other covers are Story of the Year and some older songs that are still rather popular (Brown Eyed Girl, for example).
[/quick back-story]

I have to play a show in about 2 months (plenty of time to learn) and since I’ve been show-less for a few months, I’m considering learning a bit of new covers. I’m here asking suggestions. Anything is possible, even some rap (of course, it can’t be Gin and Juice, as the acoustic bluegrassy version has been done :wink: )

Thank in advance…

Brendon Small

Free Bird!!!

I never did find out who covered “Elsewhere” by Sarah McLachlan. Maybe I just confused it with that “Possession” cover by Evans Blue, who knows. I think it would rock if you covered it, though. I swear, it sounded really good by a guy, even if I just imagined it :slight_smile: oh please, record it somehow if you do cover it! Youtube, MP3, whatever

Let’s see I love to see a cover band play songs that are familiar without being overdone. Here are some songs that I think lend themselves to fitting this defenition, plus they almost all work well as solo numbers.

Balad of the Thin Man (Bob Dylan)
I Hope that I Don’t Fall in Love With You (early Tom Waits)
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (Neutral Milk Hotel)
Fake Plastic Trees (Radiohead)
(Nothing But) Flowers* (The Talking Heads)
Traveling Song (Bright Eyes)

and the exception (because it is covered a lot, but I always love it)
Ruby Tuesday (the Stones)

This covers some generational space, and is all fun accesable music that would work well solo. Well, maybe not Ruby Tuesday or Nothing But Flowers, but if you put together good arrangements people will love you for it.

I really love this song, and if you can put together a good solo arragnement you will be my personal hero.

stupid edit window.

There should be another * next to the small text at the bottom of my last post.

If you don’t want to be every other coffee shop douchebag with acoustic guitar ever, try:

Big Star - “Thirteen”
Bert Jansch - “Needle of Death”
the Magnetic Fields - “all my little words”
Leonard Cohen - “avalanche”
Syd Barrett - “terrapin”

James Taylor - Something In The Way She Moves
The Beatles - Martha My Dear (haven’t heard anybody do this for acoustic guitar but it would be righteous)
Chris Smither - Can’t Shake these Blues
Dire Straits - The Man’s Too Strong
Nick Drake - One of These Things First

Kraftwerk - pocket calculator

Thanks so far everyone. I’m going to work an finding some of these songs to try to figure out how to play/arrange them, but the suggestions are great. I never considered a Radiohead song, but when I was younger a friend and I did pretty good with covers of a few of their more popular ones.

As for the ones I’ve never heard of, I’m willing to work on them - or at least I would like to. I’ll try not to be too coffee shop douchebag-ey, but it may happen. I’m planning on recording the whole thing with a cheap 4-track, just to have it, since I don’t play shows as often anymore, just around the house stuff. I promise I’ll PM those that want a specific song if I do figure out an arrangement for it…

(Full Disclosure: I don’t do much arranging - but if I hear a song I like I will work on it until I get it. I’m petty. It could be any song, but I usually like them for dumb reasons)

Brendon Small

If you want some mellow songs to cover, I highly recommend John Prine. And his music sounds great solo acoustic. If you want some humorous songs, try Please Don’t Bury Me or Christmas in Prison. If you want some absolutely heartbreakingly sad songs, try Sam Stone or Hellow in There.

Check out Beck’s Sea Change. Lost Cause would be a good start.

A couple of friends do interesting things with Bad Company’s “Seagull” and the Allman Brothers’ “Come And Go Blues”.

Youtube clips:
Something in the way she moves

man’s too strong

There are also a couple of not so great clips of One of These Things First.

So, have you figured out your set list yet?

Not to hijack, but have you heard **Guster’s ** live cover of (Nothing But) Flowers? It’s on their Guster on Ice album and it’s really really good.

No, I have not. But I love Guster and haven’t heard that album. I will check it out. Thanks!

“Here Come the Ducks” by [Dave] Yazbek, from the LP Tock – the lyrics to this modest charmer begins, “Here come the ducks, it’s fall again/Painting the picture on the water./Swallowing in September’s sun/Running away like summer’s daughter.”

IOW, the timing is almost perfect with when you’ll be performing.

Also, “Yacht Dance” by XTC, from English Settlement. Written for and recorded with acoustic instruments, and it’s a humdinger for 12-string guitar. It might be too difficult to do both Dave Gregory’s fluid runs and sing it like Andy Partridge, as even the pros split those two tasks (not to mention Colin Moulding’s fretless acoustic bass work). But I’m recommending it as a listening experience, even if you decide it’s too ambitious to take on.