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Cover Tune : Shaye Zadravec : Skyway (Paul Westerberg)


Seems like just yesterday I was blathering on about sacred cows and cover tunes, and whattaya know?


Today, Shaye Zadravec hits my desk.

A little perspective might be in order. I've spent most of my adult life orbiting the Twin Cities music scene, and based on my demographic alone, mores basically demand that I have a small, but obsessive, shine to Paul Westerberg conspicuously stationed in my home, complete with some long-forgotten 'Mats gig flyers, a decrepit Les Paul Jr. with a single P-90 pickup and a blurry picture of me (drunk) and Paul (drunker) outside The Red Dragon on some blurry summer night in the 80s.


Like it or not, Westerberg is the brahma bull of Twin Cities music. More than Dylan. More than Prince. Yet that has never stopped other artists, across the spectrums of importance and talent, from trying their hand at his material.


Here's one of the more successful attempts.

Bet you never realized how Lou Reedy that tune was, but lawd Joan (Miss Jett if you're nasty) has that swagger.


Here's another fine tribute from a personal favorite of mine, and a cat who left this mortal coil too soon.

Point is, this young woman from Calgary gets it. Her voice is pristine, yet not cloying. It's kinda perfect for "Skyway," which finds Westerberg finally setting aside his bluster and burning lean emotional tissue. I also love the arrangement, which if The 'Mat had attempted, you would've heard bellows of "SELLOUTS!!!" echoing down 7th Street. This is a great match, plus the video is cool, if not a tad unnerving.


Son Volt's "Windfall" is another one of "those songs" that could've easily blown up in face of someone with lesser understanding of the source material, and less skill of interpretation.

Interestingly, Miss Zadravec considers herself a singer first and foremost. Her repertoire pulls across genres, and includes Bobby Darin, Willie Dixon, Shelby Lynne and Doc Pomus, in addition to cats like Westerberg and Farrar. Both of these tunes, incidentally, were plucked from 2020's Now and Then, a platter which created enough buzz in Canada that it's getting a European release this week.


That said, I'm guessing you don't own it yet, so you may want to remedy that tout de suite.

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