One of my personal favorite songs of 2015 comes from singer/songwriter Sufjan Stevens. His entire album Carrie & Lowell is easily one of the best and most memorable of the year, with gem “No Shade In The Shadow Of The Cross” leading the charge. The song isn’t the typical grandiose masterpiece that graces my iPod or tickles my fancy, but it is rather minimalistic and driven by its chilling, emotional lyrics and Stevens’ hushed vocals. After perusing through YouTube – a frequent activity – yours truly came across some fine covers of Stevens’ song. Some stay true, others add more of themselves, while all share the same love that I personally possess for this song.
1) Tyler Hogan
This cover plays true to Stevens’ terrific original; it’s thoughtfully performed by all means.
2) Rachelle LaNae
Here, it’s interesting to hear a female interpret Stevens’ chilling standout.
3) Isaac Solo
In this cover, the acoustic guitar is replaced by electric guitar accompaniment instead. Also some tasteful, delicious backing vocals are thrown in. Oh, the video editing is cool btw.
4) Doron Diamond
Solid take. While there is a bit more punch vocally her given naturally contrasting vocal timbres, this cover successfully achieves the same haunting sensibility.
5) We Are All Fossils
The tempo is more relaxed here than the original, which suits this particular performance and provides contrast. Also, there is more fullness to the vocal here, but the vulnerability is still fully present.
6) Nick Falletta
Like the previous cover, the tempo is slackened, hence lengthening the song slightly. Also like the previous performance, it works out well.
7) James B
Talk about an ideal tone for this particular style of music and this specific song, and this cover exemplifies it. While all of these covers seem to channel Stevens’ pain through their interpretations, this take truly embraces it if nothing more by the virtue of the vocal timbre itself.
8) Gregi Hul’ko Hulin
What is interesting about this cover is the fact that the tone of voice is a clear-cut contrast to the original. Stevens’ voice is quite hushed while GregiCovers projects more naturally. Because of this, this particular take has a different timbre that’s a welcome contrast.
9) Kirsten McClure
Again, it’s nice to hear a female interpretation, and like the earlier performance, this one is lovely as well.