January 7, 2009

Okkervil River and Joni Mitchell, before the goldrush


Since you know you’re probably not gonna quit your job and Teach For America (unless you are one of my idealistic college-student readers in which case: DO it!) there’s a new compilation out that will let you toss them a few kopeks instead to help them carry on their noble educational goals.

Before The Goldrush
is a benefit album of freshfaced up-and-coming types (along with some moderate heavies like The Swell Season and Neko Case) covering some of the very best songwriters of the halcyon days gone by. The song selection is spot-on fantastic, and all the proceeds benefit Teach For America.

The Swell Season‘s amazing cover of “Into The Mystic” from the bonus version of the Once soundtrack appears on the digital-only release, as does this song that Okkervil River first released on their free covers EP in December 2007:

Blonde In The Bleachers – Okkervil River
Blonde In The Bleachers – Joni Mitchell

Full tracklisting:


[thanks Bodie!]


  • This is awesome! I’ll be listening to this and “Love for a Monster” back to back for the rest of the day. Thanks

    Katie — January 8, 2009 @ 11:46 am

  • A great blog.

    Ferrus — January 9, 2009 @ 4:27 am

  • Blonde in the Bleachers (BITB) was always a favorite. Unlike to the youngsters the compilation may be intended for, I experience the Okkervil River cover and the others in reverse: I’m introduced to the fresh faced talent covering gems form my g-generation. Okkervil River’s lead singer has an earnest yet detached style of disaffected longing. The tempo is slow and yu can hear it was recorded live like a demo. Listening to Joni’s BITB I seem to recall it’s James Taylor’s lone male voice chiming in one of the choruses, singing “For very long.” If you are curious, this hypothesis can be tested, along with other Joni mysteries, on the joni mitchell discussion list, jmdl.com

    Patti — January 11, 2009 @ 5:18 am

  • A great find, Heather — and for such a good cause! Double kudos from this teacher and cover blogger!

    boyhowdy — January 18, 2009 @ 10:34 am

  • [...] with finals coming up, I’ve fallen behind on my feedreader, and just today discovered Heather’s notice of Before the Goldrush, an amazing new covers compilation to benefit Teach for America. The [...]

    Singleshot Coverfolk: Before the Goldrush (New Covers Project with Ana Egge, Dawn Landes, Matt the Electrician and more!) ) — Cover Lay Down — January 18, 2009 @ 12:08 pm

  • It’s hard to believe how many amazing Joni covers there are out there. That “Golden Opportunities Mixtape,” where the OR version was originally released, was chockablock full of awesome reinventions like this one. Will Sheff has such an amazingly expressive voice, like Joni, that the two make a fantastic pairing for a song with intense emotional power such as this one. Great post!

    Edward — February 8, 2009 @ 9:20 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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