Written by Brett Gibbons
Cover songs: Some love them, some hate them. I fall in the former.
There’s hundreds of covers you can find by your favorite artists on Spotify, but there’s some songs that you won’t find recorded. They’re concert specials and often the only way to hear them is through someone’s crumby iPhone footage where you’ll hear their dreadfully off-note voice or have to fight through screaming just to hear it.
However, catch them live at the show and it can just turn your entire week right around. Here’s some of the best you won’t find on streaming platforms that might change your entire outlook on the original song.
Dixieland Delight, Riley Green
Riley Green’s cover of Dixieland Delight changed my entire perspective of this song. He’s been closing his sets with the classic Alabama cover for years. It’s a song that, in 2020, gets people up out of their seat and there’s not a still person in the audience.
Dixieland Delight is a song that’s had heavy influence on Riley Green’s career (that’s also built around his Alabama upbringing). He puts a twist on it by replacing the lyrics “Tennessee Saturday night” with the city and day of the week he’s performing in and on. You can also find a killer duet with Muscadine Bloodline on YouTube.
Like the other songs on this list, I won’t call it better than the original, but he does this song justice and then some.
Gentle On My Mind, Cody Johnson
Unlike the previous example, you’ll have to cross your fingers to hear this one at a Cody Johnson concert; it’s not always in his set. In the livestream above, Johnson talks about how Glen Campbell was heavily influential on his career and Gentle On My Mind was one of the first songs he remembers hearing as a child.
It’s true to the original, but his voice is starkly different from Glen Campbell. Not only did his rendition of the song introduce me to Gentle On My Mind, but also made me go and dive deeper into Glen Campbell. There’s a myriad of covers Cody Johnson performs in his set we could have put here, but this is one of the deeper cuts.
For the younger crowd that might not be familiar with the Rhinestone Cowboy (admittedly, I was not), this is a great starting point.
My Maria, Wynn Williams
If a video exists of this one, I don’t have it. Of all the cover songs to choose, Brooks & Dunn’s My Maria is almost never atop the list; it’s a vocally challenging song, especially for someone with the voice of Wynn Williams. Color me wrong, he chose this one for a reason.
Williams doesn’t put his own spin on it, he sings it tried and true to Brooks & Dunn and he knocks it out of the park. Following his June show in Waco, I asked Williams if he and the boys were planning on cutting My Maria (or any cover he played) to which he laughed and said, “Probably not.”
For now, you’ll have to catch it at one of his shows.