Imitation, it’s often said, is the sincerest form of flattery. If that is indeed the case, then independent rock band 20 Watt Tombstone’s new two-song EP Year of the Jackalope is will certainly flatter country singer Chris Stapleton and the members of ZZ Top. Additionally, the record, which is scheduled for release Friday, will likely flatter fans of the noted acts as much as the noted acts themselves. That is proven through the covers of songs from the two hugely respected acts that are featured in the record. The covers make for a strong new offering for the duo – Tom Jordan and Mitch Ostrowski – and a new overall presentation that is certain to help build the band’s name even more in the rock community.
20 Watt Tombstone’s new forthcoming EP Year of the Jackalope is a record that will appeal equally to its own fans as to fans of the bands whose music is covered in the presentation. There is no doubt about that. The EP opens with an amped up cover of ZZ Top’s song ‘Just Got Paid.’ Originally featured in ZZ Top’s 1972 album Rio Grande Mud, the song was never used as a single for the record. As a matter of fact, the album in question produced one single, ‘Francine.’ That aside, the song has since gone on to become a favorite of fans and bands alike. 20 Watt Tombstone’s take on the now timeless song stays largely true to its source material. There are no changes to the song’s lyrical content. The only real change comes in the approach that the band took to the song here. As noted already, 20 Watt Tombstone’s take on the song is quite amped up in comparison to its source material. The guitars and drums are both so much fuller in this rendition than in ZZ Top’s take. That is not to say that ZZ Top’s original composition is bad by any means. That should not be misconstrued. It is just a sign of the evolution of recording technology and of instruments themselves. The twang of the original guitar line is there along with everything else. The only real difference is that this amped up take gives the song a little bit more of a stoner rock sound than the original song. That combination of the added stoner element to the original southern rock sound makes for a song in whole that will reach a wide range of listeners. The song’s companion composition, the cover of Chris Stapleton’s ‘Midnight Train to Memphis’ works with this work to make for even more appeal.
As with 20 Watt Tombstone’s cover of ‘Just Got Paid,’ the duo’s take on ‘Midnight Train to Memphis’ amps up Chris Stapleton’s song, too. The original song, featured in Stapleton’s 2017 album From A Room: Volume 2 was, like ZZ Top’s song, not featured as a single on his own record. That aside, it has also gone on to be a favorite in its own right among Stapleton’s fans. 20 Watt Tombstone’s take of ‘Midnight Train to Memphis’ continues the stoner rock approach that the duo presented in its cover of ‘Just Got Paid’ while also staying true to its source material. It gives the original song, which is enjoyable in its own right, a hard/stoner rock infusion that takes that song to a whole new level. The hybrid country/stoner/hard rock approach here is certain to bring in Stapleton and his fans as well as 20 Watt Tombstone’s own fans. When the song is considered along with 20 Watt Tombstone’s cover of ZZ Top’s ‘Just Got Paid,’ the two songs together make Year of the Jackalope a record that while small still packs quite a punch. That punch makes this record a presentation that could make 2021 a big year for 20 Watt Tombstone.
20 Watt Tombstone’s forthcoming EP Year of the Jackalope is proof that big things can and often do come in small packages. It proves over the course of just two songs and little more than seven minutes, this band deserves its own share of attention among the next generation of hard and stoner rock bands. That is proven through each of its two covers, which are takes on songs that while themselves not even singles from their respective acts, have still proven to be fan favorites. 20 Watt Tombstone’s take on the songs takes the original songs, which are enjoyable in their own right and gives them a hard rock infusion that gives each song a whole new life. Each song is enjoyable in its own right to the whole of this brief presentation. Collectively speaking, they make Year of the Jackalope a record that, given the right support, could make 2021 a big year in itself for 20 Watt Tombstone. Year of the Jackalope is scheduled for release Friday. More information on the EP is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
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