Sunday, August 1, 2010

Mark Chesnutt, "Lovin' Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)"

Producing a good cover song can be pretty tough.  There are so many ways it go wrong.  Cover songs generally fall into one of a few different categories.  The first category, or the A-list, includes the precious few covers that put an entirely new spin on an old favorite, making the old seem new again.  The B-list includes those that sound different than the originals, displaying a measure of creativity, but fail to approach the excellence of the originals.  The C-list includes the somewhat pointless note-for-note remakes that sound almost identical to the originals.  Finally, the D-list includes those that totally ruin the song and show gross disrespect for it.

Mark Chesnutt's cover of this Kristofferson classic (from his covers album Outlaw) lands right on the C-list.  It is a faithful re-creation of the original classic.  Since Mark is paying tribute to an artist he has great admiration for, this project no doubt has great personal meaning to him.  But it may be of limited interest to those of us who are not Mark Chesnutt.  We already have Kris Kristofferson's stellar original version.  What outstanding quality does Mark Chesnutt's version have, so that we should want to hear it as well?  He doesn't reinvent it or put his own spin on it, so there just doesn't seem to be anything artistically relevant about this remake.

But let us assume for a moment that country radio might actually play this single (They won't).  Would I enjoy hearing it on the air?  I definitely would.  Sure, it sounds much like the original, but the original sounded beautiful.  Hearing this would be a welcome relief from the overproduced fluff that has been populating country airwaves.  Furthermore, many country radio listeners today are likely unfamiliar with this classic Kristofferson tune.  Mark Chesnutt's cover of this song could potentially serve a purpose in introducing modern-day country fans to the joys of traditional country music.

With all these factors in mind, I am totally lost as to what score I should give this single.  I would be either giving a bad score to a good song, or giving a good score to a pointless cover.


To hear this song, click the "Cool New Music" Link.