|"If I Were A Carpenter" album cover|
The tribute album was very successful, merging then-current top artists covering the music that dominated the airwaves when the artists themselves were just kids. Although Sonic Youth's cover of Superstar was a pretty big hit in 1994, Sonic Youth was hardly alone, as other artists including The Cranberries, Sheryle Crowe, and Matthew Sweet did covers of The Carpenters' songs.
Today, nineteen years later, Gen X artists (although the collaboration isn't exclusively X'ers) are again mining the music business' trash heap to reclaim a part of their own cultural history - good or bad), and maybe sell some music, too. Last week, a tribute album dedicated to John Denver entitled "The Music Is You: A Tribute To John Denver". Among the artists collaborating on this particular initiative include Dave Matthews, Emmylou Harris, Mary Chapin Carpenter to name just a few. Tracks include Rocky Mountain High, Take Me Home Country Roads, and Sunshine On My Shoulders as well as 13 others made famous by John Denver, who died in a plane crash in 1997.
Even the album artwork (before MP3s, known as album covers) is reminiscent of "If I Were A Carpenter" with a cartoon-esque image of the late John Denver.
|"The Music Is You: A Tribute to John Denver"album cover|
NPR Music noted "He [John Denver] was often mocked by edgier musicians for being a kind of musically soft, spongy Wonderbread of a singer-songwriter. But his songs have endured — and influenced more than one generation." NPR Music also spoke to Dave Matthews about his collaboration on this initiative and his cover of one of John Denver's songs, which can be listened to below, or by visiting http://n.pr/XxQmEq:
In the end, I think Dave Matthews and his collaborators have done the late singer appropriate justice, much as the "If I Were A Carpenter" collaborators did for that group. As a tribute album, it not only brings the original artist's music to a potentially new audience, but also keeps the original artist's creations in mind. If you'd like to buy "The Music Is You: A Tribute To John Denver", visit http://amzn.to/10iMwD7.