When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and venues began closing their doors, musicians had to start getting creative. That meant finding a new stage far from civilization, be it on a mountain top or in their garage, and reworking how they brought performances to their fans. We’ve seen a lot of creativity, from live streams to on-location videos. Here are some of the best videos we’ve seen from musicians so far during the quarantine.
CS Luxem & Nick Carswell tag team Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day”
Local songwriting expert CS Luxem has been casually posting covers to his social media pages from time to time. But when he posted Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day,” the light bulb went off in Nick Carswell’s head. He recorded some piano accompaniment and edited the two videos together. What resulted was a classic case of Lawrence camaraderie via collaboration. Carswell’s no stranger to hopping on the piano and belting out tunes on the fly. When he’s not busy organizing “Song from Ireland” every year or playing with his band Carswell & Hope, he occasionally dips into piano bars.
Kat King – “LoveFool”
Did you know that Kat King’s been doing, like, a million covers during the quarantine? She’s been posting them mostly in her Instagram stories, and occasionally going live on her Facebook page. But her 56th Quarantine cover is one of our favorites. It’s just her, divided among four frames, covering The Cardigans’ “LoveFool.” This sugary sweet 90’s pop hit is completely complementary to Kat King’s darling vocals. Bonus points for the Keytar.
It’s also worth showcasing her adorably charismatic cover of Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose.”
Jenna Rae on a Mountain
Don’t even TALK to us unless you’re going to brood on top of a mountain with a sad little country ditty. Jenna Rae (of Unfit Wives fame) wrote “How to Drive Your Woman Mad” with her partner Martin a few years ago, and the song found its way into their virtual playlists this Summer. They recorded the song live as far from coronavirus as possible, on top of Split Rock in central Wyoming. We’re giving extra kudos to Jenna for including Roy (the four-legged heartthrob in the back there).
Kawehi continues YouTube reign
Kawehi continued her reign as queen of covers on YouTube during the Quarantine, with tributes to Whitney Houston, Alanis Morissette, and more. She even put out a number ripping into all the political drama of the Quarantine with “Thank God My Momma (Didn’t Name Me Karen).” But if you’d like a feel-good moment, dive into the 90’s with her mashup featuring Brandy, Ginuwine, and Robyn. Now excuse me while I chug this bottle of Orbitz.
Radkey streams an entire set
It’s strange to go this long without a proper Radkey throwdown in Lawrence, but the band has been profoundly active on their social media channels. If you like gardening and cats, these punk rockers have some GREAT content for you. But if you miss their shows, they’ve been pretty good at posting both old and new performances.
A couple of months ago, they streamed an entire set from Cain’s in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The event comes courtesy the Bob Dylan Center and Woody Guthrie Center, and featured a 40-minute performance.
Megan Luttrell’s Jon Prine tribute
After famed and beloved songwriter Jon Prine fell victim to COVID-19, local musician (and popular open mic organizer) Megan Luttrell started posting a series of Jon Prine covers and tributes. This one, however, garnered thousands of views. It’s simply a humble video shot on her phone, but it doesn’t need much more because it’s perfect. Here’s her cover of “Speed of the Sound of Loneliness.”
For more videos…
If you’re itching for more videos, we’ve been busy during the Quarantine as well. We recorded several musicians playing in their driveways from an acceptable distance at the start of the quarantine. We also produced a show featuring local musicians playing inside empty museums and historic spaces in Lawrence. You can watch that below.
Fally Afani is an award-winning journalist with a career spanning more than two decades in media. She has worked extensively in radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and more. Currently, she resides in Lawrence, Kansas, where she works as a music journalist and is the Editor of I Heart Local Music.