The recent death of Michael Nesmith of the Monkees has prompted music fans to celebrate his legacy and remember his great song-writing talents. Back when Linda Ronstadt was singing with Stone Poneys, they scored a number 13 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with the Nesmith-penned ‘Different Drum’, a brilliantly tuneful and catchy number about two lovers who want different things from a relationship. It’s a classic song that Sarah White makes her own. The upbeat rhythms are complemented by a strong bass-line, over which fluid piano rolls and flows and White’s vocal winds its way wearily around the gorgeous melody. Her voice is, indeed, the highlight of the song, distinctive and full of character, making the familiar narrative feel authentic.
The decision to cover ‘Different Drum’ came from a Kickstarter campaign, in which one of the tiers on offer included making requests for covers. The fan who asked for this song made an inspired choice. White got her band together to record a live version, which went so well that the producer of White’s last album, ‘High Flyer’, insisted that they take to the studio to put together an official, flawless version for fans to enjoy.
White says of the video: “I love this video. I found the trapeze footage – which I loved – the kiss footage, then a bit of drum footage shot in the studio; I just put together anything I had to make a story for the song. Once I shot myself singing and put a filter on, I had some glue. I liked the light, the screen door, and the way I look in the cartoon. Seemed to match the mood of the song and of course that trapeze artist is just badass. To me it’s perfect.”
The Richmond, Virginia, singer-songwriter has been releasing music regularly since her 1997 debut, ‘All My Skies are Blue’, a collection of rustic, acoustic songs. Her sound has since evolved into more layered, textured material like ‘Different Drum’. The atmosphere is boosted by a team of fine performers, including Daniel Clarke (K.D. Lang, War on Drugs) on piano, Chamberlin Charles Arthur on shimmering guitars and Brian Jones on drums. For added warmth and depth, Stephen McCarthey of Jayhawks and Long Ryders provides additional vocals. Collectively, the band capture an engrossing sound as a platform on which Sarah White can deliver. Absorbing stuff – check it out.
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