Last week, Gift Horse Project and Manimal Vinyl Records released a charity compilation titled Cool for School: For the Benefit of the Lunchbox Fund. The set features notable artists doing cover songs, like Bright Eyes and First Aid Kit tackling the White Stripes‘ “We’re Going to Be Friends” and Albert Hammond Jr. doing Big Star’s classic “Thirteen.” We got our hands on Joseph Arthur‘s cover of Neil Young‘s classic rock anthem, “Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World.” The tune abandons the guitar riff sentimentality of the original in favor of a computer-generated synth line. And there’s a perfectly good reason for taking this approach, as Arthur explains.
“I think cover songs should be reinventions and challenge (to a degree) the intention of the original,” he says. “I didn’t have a guitar with me, just a laptop, [but] I started making the track in the computer and it came out a bit dance-y. But didn’t Neil go thru a techno phase?”
Arthur’s take demonstrates that no only is he willing to upend a classic, but in doing so, sheds a little of the “singer-songwriter” tag that he’s mostly associated with. In other words, you can groove to Joseph Arthur covering Neil Young.
Joseph Arthur - Keep on Rockin' in the Free World