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Cover Songs Rule, Especially This One From Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer

Listen to the sisters cover "Color of a Cloudy Day," originally written by Amanda Shires and Jason Isbell.
Jacob Blickenstaff

Music exists to tell stories. Songs are a major component of oral history, a way of passing down tales and legends from generation to generation with an accompanying tune. In the early 1900s, when the record industry was really getting it together, artists and industry folks alike realized they could make money by covering each other's songs. That lead to a lot of extraneous legal stuff that's not totally pertinent to this post right now, except for the fact that artists covering other artists became a Thing, a Thing so popular that it would inspire cover bands and tribute acts and all the like.


Eventually, covering a song from a band or artist became a way to pay your respect to the music and all it did for you. Some notable recent examples—in country music, specifically, because this is a post about country music—include Chris Stapleton's version of "Either Way" (which isn't exactly a cover because he technically wrote it but which most people saw as one since Lee Ann Womack was the first to record it), Jaime Wyatt's cover of Merle Haggard's "Misery and Gin," and Sturgill Simpson's cover of Nirvana's "In Bloom." It's a genuinely sweet thing to do, and it's always been a part of country music's DNA.

This is where sisters Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer come in. Below, we've got the premiere of their brand-spankin' new cover of "Color Of A Cloudy Day", a song originally written by Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires. The sisters were born and raised in Isbell's home state of Alabama, so covering this song just seems like a natural thing for them. The song is one of many they'll be releasing on their upcoming album of covers, Not Dark Yet, out August 18.

Named for a Bob Dylan song, which they also cover, Not Dark Yet is the pair's first collaboration together despite long individual careers. In 1999, Lynne won a Grammy award in the category of "Best New Artist" for her album I Am Shelby Lynne. Moorer, the younger of the two, has also been nominated for four Grammy awards and one Oscar, for "A Soft Place to Fall" in 1999, and she also once married and divorced outlaw country artist Steve Earle. Not Dark Yet will feature covers of songs by Nirvana, the Killers, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, as well as an original composition by the two sisters.

"Sissy and I are thrilled to include Jason and Amanda's gorgeous, 'The Color of a Cloudy Day,' on Not Dark Yet" Lynne says. "It's so melancholy, soulful, and beautiful— we knew as soon as we heard it that it would be perfect for our record."

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