Various Artists – Coming Up: Independent Artists Pay Tribute to the Music of Paul McCartney

Various Artists
Coming Up: Independent Artists Pay Tribute to the Music of Paul McCartney

This is the second of two CD tributes to one of the greatest songwriters in the history of rock, Paul McCartney. The first disc, Listen to What the Man Said, featured an excellent array of McCartney solo classics performed by artists such as Matthew Sweet and the Barenaked Ladies. That disc focused on bands from either the major label ranks, or bands about to be there due to their success in the indie scene. Coming Up is a nice companion to the first disc as it features all independent artists. These are groups and performers who are on their way up in the music scene but have not gotten quite the same amount of attention. This disc gives them a great chance to show off their talents by paying tribute to the pop virtuoso.

As with the first CD tribute, the majority of the tracks on Coming Up are solid covers that keep the spirit of McCartney’s tunes intact. Not every track is a must hear, but there are many solid attempts to equal McCartney. If nothing else, none of the attempts will bore the listener. A few of the versions may even brighten one’s day.

While every song is worth a listen, about half of the tracks stand out above the rest. The first track, “Let ‘Em In,” is a rocking headnodder courtesy of Starbelly. The drums and bass continuously move the number along as the guitars cut in sharply to add to the rhythmic feel. Although not quite the equal of McCartney’s version, the song is a solid attempt and provides an excellent start to the disc. The Jellybricks deliver some reggae-tinged guitar at the start of “Take it Away.” The song then nicely flows into more straight-forward pop. They show what they have learned from McCartney and combine genres to bring forth a nice blend. Mark Bacino offers up an acoustic version of “Every Night.” Imagine sitting near a fireplace as the warm tones of the instruments and vocals put the listener in a very comfortable place. After hearing this version, one wonders why McCartney didn’t try more of his songs acoustically as they translate very well. Star Collector delivers with the anthemic “My Brave Face.” They do a nice job of keeping one of McCartney’s catchiest numbers bouncy and fun. One can’t help but smile when this tune dances out of the speakers. “Mull of Kyntyre” gets a country-flavored treatment from Kyf Brewer. The cut drifts between traditional folk sounds, bagpipes, and a slight twang in the vocals. An interesting take. The Gadget White Band performs a happy, yet soulful “Maybe I’m Amazed.” The vocals are a bit too bluesy at points, and at times the song loses its pop roots, but overall the song is an enjoyable cover.

Having two entire CD tributes to one artist shows the massive influence that McCartney has had on the entire music scene. It’s almost as if he is a grandfather to all of these artists and now he can sit back in his rocking chair and take a look at all of his descendents. His influence covers all music. These two tribute CDs are more recent examples. Artists as different as Nirvana and even Boogie Down Productions have shown glimpses of McCartney flavor at different points in their careers. It seems that almost no musician from the last 35 years can deny McCartney and the Beatles influence, either directly or indirectly. Now, looking back at his lifetime of work, McCartney should sit back in that rocking chair, kick his feet up, and admire a job well done.