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Hear Zac Brown Band Cover Jason Isbell’s ‘Cover Me Up’

Zac brown band covers jason ispell
Rick Diamond (2), Getty Images

When Zac Brown Band recorded their Spotify Singles session for the popular streaming service, they included a tribute to Jason Isbell. Click below to listen to ZBB cover Isbell’s 2013 song “Cover Me Up,” which appears on the artist’s Southeastern album.

Isbell’s original version of “Cover Me Up” draws on Americana influences and keeps things simple; the track features only an acoustic and a slide guitar, creating a more bluesy sound. The Zac Brown Band’s version of the song, however, is pure country rock, and pulls in piano and strings to create a more produced sound. Both versions are powerful in their own way — a huge testament to the ZBB’s ability to take an already-amazing song and put their own stamp on it.

This isn’t the first time that Zac Brown Band have taken on an Isbell song either. The group’s 2015 album Jekyll + Hyde includes a beautiful rendition of “Dress Blues,” a song that Isbell wrote after the passing of a high school friend in Iraq; it’s featured on Isbell’s 2007 debut solo album, Sirens of the Ditch. For their version of the song, the Zac Brown Band guys brought in folk-pop singer Jewel and changed up the arrangement to include a violin rendition of “Taps,” the traditional call that is played at funerals for fallen soldiers.

For Brown, both “Dress Blues” and “Cover Me Up” prove that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

“That dude might write the saddest songs in the world,” Brown said of Isbell in a 2015 interview. “[“Dress Blues” is] so eloquently written, and accessible where everybody can still listen and understand it, but vivid … And I heard that song, and I wanted more people to hear that song … [It] was one that I felt like was kind of obscure to the world — known well by his fans, but I want his fan base to grow.”

Over the past few years, Isbell has become one of the most recognizable faces of Americana music, bringing the genre to a new audience and earning major kudos — including six trophies from the Americana Music Association and two Grammy Awards — along the way.

Both the Zac Brown Band and Isbell are having big years in 2017: The ZBB dropped their fifth studio album, Welcome Home, on May 12, while Isbell teamed up with his band, the 400 Unit, for the release of his sixth solo record, The Nashville Sound, on June 16. Both acts are also out on the road this year: The ZBB are on their national, 40-date Welcome Home Tour, and Isbell and the 400 Unit are playing an impressive lineup of gigs across the U.S. and Europe.

Listen to Zac Brown Band’s “Cover Me Up”

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