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Pivoting away from 2020’s intensely electrified Below Sea Level, New Orleans native Eric Johanson follows his sophomore effort with a collection of raw, acoustic covers. The ten songs on Covered Tracks: Vol. 1 feature a diverse selection ranging from a pop-folk ballad by The Cardigans (“Feathers and Down”) to traditional pre-war numbers courtesy of Skip James (“Hard Time Killing Floor Blues”). Though the original prose and structures of the material span across several genres, Johanson conveys a solid sense of artistic identity in that many of the tracks diverge wildly from the originals, and end up sounding as if they were Johanson compositions.
As with any covers album, selecting a mix of some best fitting songs along with a few unexpected, off-genre ventures constitutes half the challenge of a successful offering, and Johanson does an excellent job of keeping the variety interesting. The other half of the battle lies in finding ways to reimagine songs without leaning on excessive instrumental diversions, instead finding a way to convincingly make the tunes one’s own. The sparse slide guitar accompaniment and direct vocal delivery help Johanson achieve the second objective.
1. 25 Or 6 To 4 (3:55)
2. Head Like A Hole (4:36)
3. Oh I Wept (5:08)
4. My Babe (2:48)
5. Feathers And Down (4:26)
6. Midnight Rider (3:25)
7. Lovin’ In My Baby’s Eyes (3:35)
8. Deep Deep Water (4:11)
9. House Of The Rising Sun (4:55)
10. Hard Time Killing Floor Blues (3:35)