DAREDEVIL, OUTSIDE MUSIC
It’s a feat when you can find a cover version of a song greater than, or even equal in greatness to, the original version. The very point of a cover song is to pay tribute to an already-top notch song, so how can a copy be better than the original? One of the greatest cover songs ever is probably Joe Crocker’s version of Ringo Starr’s “With a Little Help From My Friends” — Crocker took a peppy Beatles song, changed the timing, added numerous improvisations and changed the feel of the song completely. In short, a good cover should make a listener want to listen to both versions, and a great cover should make a listener want to listen to the cover over the original.
All this is to say that Justin Rutledge’s Daredevil does all the right things to make an interesting Tragically Hip cover album. Rutledge’s muted, quiet takes on the classics and deep cuts of The Hip give a greater appreciation of The Hip’s musical abilities.
The opening track for Daredevil sets the whole tone for the album: this version of “Looking For a Place to Happen” is two minutes longer than the original, and slows down to a quiet contemplative whisper. Rutledge’s take on “Springtime in Vienna” or “Looking for a Place to Hide” strips away the ‘90s guitar and Gordon Downie’s sneer with a reflective hush and acoustic guitar played with simple folk picking and bass walks. The cover of “Courage (For Hugh MacLennan)” is easily the highlight of the album — the constant drone of a synthesizer provides the backbone to a moody soundscape, building to a swell in the final minute as if someone finally gathered their courage before the song fades out.
Any Hip fan should check out Daredevil just to hear how versatile their music can really be.
By Kraig Brachman