What is Making Me Happy: Bluegrass Covers of Pop Songs

Grades are in for the semester and while I will have a reflection ready for tomorrow, today I am finding that I just need to decompress.

In the meantime, enjoy a few of the songs that sustained me while I graded: bluegrass covers of pop songs. I fell down a rabbit hole in this sub-genre a few months ago through the Pickin’ On series of albums that covered, for instance, hits from the 1990s. I found those albums to be rather hit and miss, often because they slowed the tempo of some of the faster songs in a way that I thought detracted from the effect. What changed my mind about the overall potential, though, was Sarah Jarosz’ cover of “When Doves Cry.”

I love this song anyway, and the mandolin/upright bass pairing just works. When you take the same sort of bluegrass adaptation and stick it in a non-traditional venue like, say, a kitchen in this Front Country cover of “Don’t Do Me Like That,” I’m all-in.

Or maybe Honeybucket’s cover of the Kid Cudi song “Pursuit of Happiness” (the explicit version is a bit better, but this is funny, too).

Or from across the pond with the Beefseed’s cover of Dark Horse.

I particularly like the cacophonous energy in these songs that helped get me to the end of the semester.

Following the model of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour and, to a lesser extent, the Make Me Smart daily podcast, I want to remind myself that there are things that bring me joy. These posts are meant to be quick hits that identify and/or recommend things—usually artistic or cultural, sometimes culinary—that are making me happy in a given week. I am making this quick format a semi-regular feature.