Down North Add a Punk-Soul Bite to Their Take on Prince’s Classic “America”
By Nathan Leigh
July 1, 2022
It takes some serious nerve to cover The Purple One, but Seattle’s Down North has what it takes. Coming in with a timely update to Prince’s iconic Around the World in a Day track, the band puts their own punk-soul spin on it. With guitar chops that would make Vernon Reid proud, Down North add an intensity all their own without undermining the acidic bite that drives the song. After a week that saw a generation worth of progress erased from the scoreboard by a cadre of unelected monarchs, Down North reaching back to protest anthems of the past feels strikingly appropriate.
The band explains their rules for a cover, telling us: “When it comes to doing a cover you have to follow three rules, if you want to release it. There’s a difference between a song that you can just perform live, versus a song that you actually release. The first is you have to make it your own. Kind of like a cover Aretha Franklin did from Otis Redding called “Respect.” Second is don’t pick an obvious one. You have to pick a deep cut. The only if you’re a true fan of the artist whom the cover is from will know that it is a cover song.. It’s kinda like a tribute to the artist. Let’s them know ‘hey I was a real listener/fan…’ also it’s whack to me when people cover someone’s hit song… third is pick something that is still relevant today.. in this song for us it spoke a lot about what America is. Like on the outside, ‘which I feel that’s what hooks are…’ it’s very hopeful, on some American dream type shit very propaganda-ish, but the verses shows that for most people it could be a nightmare.”
Follow Down North on socials @downnorthband for more, including upcoming tour dates and a forthcoming EP.
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