A perfect turn of phrase and video collaborations are among the innovative ways musicians are tackling Covid-19 lockdown.
No gigs, no recording studio dates. Covid-19 lockdown has pretty much killed off much of music industry.
Well, so we thought.
Being creative types, musicians have been busy being innovative at home and using tools like Zoom in new ways. Online gigs are now commonplace. Some you pay for to watch. Some free but with donations asked for. Others are for charity.
Among the most innovative we’ve spotted is Somerset songwriter Nick Parker’s Stranger Tunes series of online collaborations. Here he teams up with a bunch of musicians online and they perform some interesting cover versions. Mostly they are complete strangers. Nick and co’s take on Midlake’s Roscoe has been a particular highlight for us.
Meanwhile, musicians have been busy putting the whole, crazy mess of our pandemic world into song.
John Howard’s Stillbeat of A Silent Day, is particularly poignant. The fiercely independent singer songwriter’s renaissance in recent years was recorded from his home in Spain and sums up how the world is so very, very different.
Using Howard’s multi-vocals on the tracking and backed by percussion and accordion its sound is still fundamentally what he does best – a bloke with a good voice playing the piano.
It’s lyrically though that its particularly impressive.
There’s some nice turns of phrases, with the title itself summing it all up so well. The “stillbeat of a silent day” indeed.
Other lyrics here that impress include “Smiles beneath the masks where no party plays. Joining gloved hands for the angels care. Cheers from the balconies’ grateful gaze”.
No, its ok, (dabs tissue to face), I’ve just got something in my eye.
Elsewhere, John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats has also summed up the current craziness well in verse, on Exegetic Chains from his lockdown home produced album Songs for Pierre Chuvin.
“Keep the chains tight. Make it through this year….if it kills you outright.” It’s a nod to one of his most well known tracks This Year but like Howard has managed to put our feeling perfectly in song.
What other lockdown songs or virtual gigs have impressed you? Let us know in the comments below.
By Joe Lepper