Love Tom Waits? Then You Need To Hear These Incredible Covers By Angie McMahon & More

22 November 2019 | 3:48 pm | The Music Team

We get it - choosing where to start with all the stacks of great new music each week can be a daunting task. 'The Music' team are here to help though, bringing you our Album Of The Week each Friday. Here's why 'Come On Up To The House: Women Sing Waits' is gets our pick.

What do Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Scarlett Johansson have in common? How about Joan Baez and Meat Loaf? Or Tori Amos and The Ramones? If you answered they’ve all covered songs by Tom Waits then congratulations, you get a cookie. Please leave your postal address and any dietary requirements in the comments.

We’re not sure what the measure of a songwriter is, but it must say something about Waits that such a broad array of artists are drawn to explore his work (Rod Stewart, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Bruce Springsteen, Diana Krall, Steve Earl, the list goes on). Waits songs live close to a lot of people’s hearts, and attempts to remake them are prone to draw heat. He’s is one of the most distinct singers and songwriters of his time - the man’s inimitable. 

Here, Come On Up To The House: Women Sing Waits brings together a new collection of artists taking a swing at Waits’ catalogue - from Phoebe Bridgers to Corinne Bailey Rae - and the results hit. Rather than imitate, these covers interpret, bringing new voices to the timeless themes and emotions Waits is such a deft hand at capturing.

Special mention for Angie McMahon, who stands out even in such celebrated company. The melancholic ache she brings to Take It With Me sits in your chest like a stone. We’re probably biased though, have a listen and see what you think.

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What they're saying...

"I remember driving through the hills somewhere when I first heard this song," McMahon told Billboard last month. 

"Someone played it for me and said, 'You just have to hear the final verse. It's the best verse ever written.’ I think I agree. It was actually terrifying to cover this because I love the original version so much. It's an incredibly beautiful recording. I just wanted to put my spin on my favourite Waits song so I could be part of this record too."

What we're reading...

Review by Guido Farnell. Read more here...

"Shelby Lynne, Aimee Mann, Corinne Bailey Rae, Rosanne Cash and Courtney Marie Andrews perform reverential covers of classics like Jersey Girl, Time, Downtown Train, Hold On and Ol’ 55. These songs tug at the heartstrings with deep feelings of sadness, love, regret and a certain sentimental nostalgia. 

"Regardless of who’s singing them, there is so much heartfelt, lived emotion in Waits’ songs, and this is what makes them feel so universal and timeless. 

"Joseph’s version of Come On Up To The House feels so joyously affirming and, despite everything, hopeful. The gentle folk swirl of The Wild Reeds' take on Tom Traubert’s Blues, which toys with Waltzing Matilda, remains one of the most beautiful ballads on alcoholism ever."

Looking for more new music? Head here right this way for the full list of this week's releases.