The Upshot: Everyone from Dead or Alive and Prince to Merle Haggard and Guy Clark are covered on the songwriter, producer, and label owner’s second solo album.
BY JOHN B. MOORE
Pulling together an album’s worth of cover songs is hardly an original concept. More often than not, it comes at a time when an exhausted band is looking for a holdover product while they work on new material. That’s what makes Gregg Stewart’s Twentysixteen all the more curious. Despite being in the record business for years, as a songwriter, producer, and label owner, this set of covers is only his second official album as a solo musician.
Regardless of the motives behind it, two things are clear: Stewart has an impressively eclectic taste in music (he covers everyone from Dead or Alive and Prince to Merle Haggard and Guy Clark); and he does a damn fine job of making each song his own, with his mellow, acoustic folk pop vibe woven throughout the record. The effect is especially inspired on Prince’s “Raspberry Beret” and Leonard Cohen’s “Leaving the Table.”
There are some moments that such seemed like forced quirkiness, like his ‘70s soft rock cover of “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory and Dead Or Alive’s “You Spin Me Right Round.” But there are also moments of pure beauty here, like his take on David Bowie’s “Starman” and especially Guy Clark’s Out in the Parking Lot.”
DOWNLOAD: “Raspberry Beret,” “Starman” and “Out in the Parking Lot”