Ted Leo – Against the Grain
William Elliott Whitmore – Don't Pray On Me
I stumbled across this Bad Religion tribute album a few weeks back, and although it has some questionable artist inclusions (Switchfoot?!), it also has pretty awesome covers from Those Who Dig favorites William Elliott Whitmore and Ted Leo.
First off, I have to admit that I don't have a very extensive knowledge of Bad Religion's music. My "punk phase" in high school was pretty stereotypical and limited to The Clash, Ramones, and Sex Pistols. That being, the reputation and intellectual nature of Bad Religion was always something I respected even if I wasn't spinning Generator in my bedroom every night. I'm also well aware of the fact that Bad Religion had a major effect on quite a few of my favorite artists.
William Elliott Whitmore is the man behind one of my favorite concert experiences ever (fodder for future writings, maybe?). If you haven't heard him, he's a Iowa farm-raised banjo bluesman (former punk rocker) with the voice of an 85 year old, lifelong smoking Delta blues singer. His albums are fantastic and his cover of Bad Religion's atheist anthem "Don't Pray On Me" is just as striking as his own songs (although sans banjo). Ted Leo covers "Against the Grain" and where the original was tight and cohesive, Leo plays it loose and free to great effect. Plus, there's pennywhistle.
Germs of Perfection: A Tribute to Bad Religion is available for free at this MySpace page. Download it. Because it's free.