Lambchop is a band. Often we just think it’s Kurt Wagner with a bunch of collaborators, but with the new covers album, TRIP, coming out November 13, they are proving that they are a true collective. While Lambchop was supposed to tour this autumn and winter, which is now not possible, Wagner invited them to Nashville to record a bunch of covers; each member chose a song to record and led the day’s recording session.
The first to be shared from the album is their version of “Reservations” by Wilco, which was chosen by Matthew McCaughan. Introduced first by Wagner, then by McCaughan, they say:
“As with all the covers on TRIP it was chosen not so much for it’s content or as a tribute to the original but for what our group could bring out in the recording of it. In this case I think it best demonstrates who we are as a group and what we are currently capable of expressing.”
“I also believe in this case Matthew McCaughan, who chose the song, said it best:”
“I’d like to say that Wilco’s ‘Reservations’ is a song I’ve always wanted to cover. But honestly, after a friend had mentioned it in a story, I had to go back and give it another listen. Picking out a cover is stressful for me. It’s kind of a dumb thing to stress about, but so many songs have memories tied to them, and I don’t want to cloud those memories. I usually pick one of those songs that I feel would fit the band, but then I go back and forth, wondering the best way to approach the arrangement. Should we honour the original and try to faithfully re-create all the sounds and performances that make the song special to me, or should we take it apart and start over? Then, add in the fact that the cover would be recorded and preserved forever. I could not think of one song that I couldn’t make an argument for both approaches, so it always ends in a one-person stalemate. So I decided I would pick a song that, while I love it, and know it, it wasn’t one that had been on repeat for months at some point in my life, nor was it one that is permanently tied to some memory of my own. Instead, I used my family’s and friends’ collections and recollections with and without their permission. That way I’d just ruin it for them. But it’s the thought that counts.”
The stately closer to Wilco’s epic Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, the original “Reservations” is seven minutes, but as is Lambchop’s wont, they spin their version out into almost twice that length. The cover is fairly faithful to the original, in all its forlorn beauty, but Lambchop allow it to wallow and glide for just that bit longer, making you sit in quite a subtle yet profound mood for a spell.
Lambchop’s TRIP is coming out on November 13 through City Slang/Merge. The full track list is:
1. Reservations (Jeff Tweedy) – chosen by Matthew McCaughan
2. Where Grass Won’t Grow (Earl “Peanut” Montgomery) – chosen by Paul Niehaus
3. Shirley (Jamie Klimek and Jim Crook) – chosen by Matt Swanson
4. Golden Lady (Stevie Wonder) – chosen by Andy Stack
5. Love Is Here and Now You’re Gone (Brian Holland, Edward Holland and Lamont Dozier) – chosen by Tony Crow
6. Weather Blues (James McNew) – chosen by Kurt Wagner