Songs You Need To Hear: Laura Veirs, “The Ocean”

Videos by American Songwriter

Debate time: can Led Zeppelin be accurately covered?

It’s been tried before, by the likes of Cracker, Blind Melon, Duran Duran and Hootie and the Blowfish, who were just some of the artists featured on the 1995 tribute album Encomium (other brave souls on there include Tori Amos, 4 Non Blondes and Sheryl Crow, who does a mean “D’Yer Ma’ker.”)

But Robert Plant’s piercing wail and Zep’s irreplaceable rhythm section mean the songs don’t lend themselves to covering, the way, say, you’re average Rolling Stones song does.

But now a new wave of artists are ready to attempt climbing that stairway to heaven. On October 9, Jealous Butchers Records will release From The Land Of Ice And Snow, a double album of Zeppelin covers from some of indie rock’s best and brightest. Talented Portland songstress Laura Veirs steps up to the plate first, with a version of “The Ocean,” off 1973’s Houses Of The Holy, that manages to be both faithful and inventive.

It helps that it’s a female voice approximating Plants’ (good luck with that one, M. Ward). And that she clearly understands the sexy power of sliding into the notes (“I can hear the oceans’ roaaaaar…”) Dig those chimes playing along to the main riff, giving it an indie rock makeover, and the way Veirs mult-tracks her voice for the thoroughly enjoyable “Nah Nah Nah Nah” breakdown. Dancing days are here again.

Listen to “The Ocean” here.


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