Revisiting Will Oldham and Tortoise’s 2006 collaboration, The Brave And The Bold, last week spawned some interesting offline chatter about what it means to cover an artist. While much of the discussion was centered around familiar positions and attitudes, the consensus was (not surprisingly) that most everyone tends to prefer an interesting re-interpretation to a more catholic version of the source material. What Oldham and Co. do with Milton Nascimento’s “Cravo î‰ Canela,” on The Brave And The Bold, resides between the two.
Whereas the tune is not completely deconstructed and re-built from the ground up (like their cover of “Thunder Road“), they do inject it with a dirty and raw muscularity the Brazilian original only hints at. The result yields one of my favorite covers on the album.