English folk-punk troubadour Frank Turner sure is pleased to be back in America. "It feels great to be back in the USA again," he wrote recently. "I have an awful lot of love for this country. OK I'll admit it, I missed Denny's." Regardless of Turner's motives, read Mark Pratt's revealing music feature on him from this week's print edition. It has plenty on his deep ties to the folk music of America, and part of that tradition is covering works by other artists.
Turner has spent the past half-decade dropping Dizzee Rascal lyrics between songs and creating new versions of many classics that clearly were an inspiration for his own work -- or perhaps not. He even covers himself when he sings old Million Dead songs from his hardcore past. While it's true that the audience he draws for tonight's show at Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale should be plenty pleased about the songs from the stunning England Keep My Bones buoying the set, it's likely that a cover or two might sneak in.
Here are Frank Turner's five best covers:
5. "You Are My Sunshine" - an American standard popularized by Jimmie Davis
This song has been covered and interpolated by artists ranging from Johnny Cash to Aretha Franklin to Bright Eyes, for good reason. Turner takes it somewhere wistful in this acoustic rendering.
4. "Thunder Road" - Bruce Springsteen
Not surprising that a guy who references the Boss on "Redemption" from his England Keep My Bones album is able to get a fiery cover together here.
3. "A New England" - Billy Bragg
Another one of Turner's heroes, Billy Bragg, gets a raw tribute here with fellow punk-Americana acolyte Gaslight Anthem frontman Brian Fallon sharing vocal duties.
2. "Dancing Queen" - ABBA
Frank Turner is only 29, but he's got a lot of love for music that's firmly before his time. Much like Ted Leo's forays into off-the-wall pop covers, there's nothing ironic about this take on the ABBA classic featuring a guest spot by Jonah Matranga later on.
1. "Somebody to Love" - Queen
Queen seems far and away Turner's favorite cover subject ("I Want to Break Free" and "We Are the Champions" are also in his repertoire). Dig the vocal gymnastics on this one. Since he played this one earlier in the week in Orlando, there's a great shot that he'll break it out tonight.
Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls, with Andrew Jackson Jihad and
Into It Over It. 7:30 p.m. Thursday, September 29, at Culture Room, 3045
N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $12. Click here.