Previously only available on limited vinyl, Ezra Furman has announced the digital release of his covers EP Songs By Others on 22nd February via Bella Union. The EP features a number of hand-picked cover songs including Melanie’s “Good Book”, also used on Netflix series, Sex Education, which Ezra has written the soundtrack for. Read Ezra’s thoughts on the song and EP, and listen to “Good Book” below: Ezra says of “Good Book”: “It’s a genius song. I had actually never heard a song that is about what that song is about: how an audience wants something from a performer and wants reassurance, like, “Tell us you love us with a book or a song or a poem because we need it.” And that was a time when we were putting out Perpetual Motion People, and we had really been pretty obscure. That was the first album of ours that came out where it felt like a lot of people were waiting for it to come out and talking about it and playing the lead single on the radio. So I was just thinking a lot about what can be emotional or tender or beautiful in the audience-performer relationship. That song is like, “Tell us you love us so we don’t feel alone,” and it seems like the best thing a song could do — to make someone not feel so alone.”
Speaking about his love of cover songs, Ezra says:
“A good song takes you far,” sang Jackson Browne on tour in the 70’s. It’s true, and very strange– how these little three-minute compositions crafted on a whim in a bedroom end up bringing us out on planes and highways, into bars and ballrooms and radio stations, pouring out our hearts and lungs for those who themselves were pulled out of their rooms and into the world by the power of song. Browne understood this: he himself was covering Danny O’Keefe’s perfect ode to the bizarre, bittersweet life of a traveling musician, and when I listen to it crammed in a van full of instruments speeding across rainy Germany, it hits hard.
I have always played other people’s songs, alone and with friends, at home and on the road. I know our audiences’ main interest is in our original songs, and for that I’m honored. But I can’t seem to stop playing covers. Every time we are preparing to go on tour I can’t help assembling the Boy-Friends and demanding that we learn a new cover song to play live. I listen to so much great music and just ache to be able to inhabit it more fully. I want to be Beck or Melanie or Jackie Wilson. So this record is me playing dress-up, with the help of my incredible band.
(Don’t miss that point– The Boy-Friends are an incredible band that can do anything, without whom my voice would not be in your earholes.)
Thanks for indulging us in these cover versions, pieced together from studio recordings, recordings made on tour in backstage rooms and hotels, and a live show in Austria. I’d like to point out that we’ve included a song from every decade since rock’n’roll has been a viable marketing category, the 1950’s through the 2010’s. You are encouraged to look up the original versions if you’ve never heard them. They blew my mind.”
– Ezra, December 2015