17 Songs, 1 Hour 19 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

If there’s any group that’s overdue for a tribute, it’s The Band, who in their late 60s heyday made some of the greatest music no one listens to anymore. Just two kinds of covers make these albums succeed: left-field versions that make you hear an old song in a whole new way, and passionate homage that makes the original live and breathe all over again. Indie-roots rockers My Morning Jacket use near-identical arrangements on their heartfelt cover of “It Makes No Difference,” jam-band extraordinaire Widespread Panic summons the spirit of Garth Hudson’s brilliant organ playing on “Chest Fever,” and the Allman Brothers offer a suitably gritty, down-home “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” Lee Ann Womack’s straight-ahead honky-tonk take on “The Weight” satisfies, but who could ruin a song like that? More interesting are Rosanne Cash’s passionate, plainspoken “Unfaithful Servant”; a pleasantly light-footed acoustic version of “This Wheel’s On Fire” by indie rockers Guster; and The Roches, who transform “Acadian Driftwood” into a Celtic-flavored lament, complete with pennywhistle, violin, accordion, and the sisters’ lovely folk harmonies. As for the rest — from Jack Johnson’s uber-mellow “I Shall Be Released” to Death Cab’s curiously subdued “Rockin’ Chair” — honestly, with source material this good, it’s hard not to drive the listener straight into the arms of the original songs. Of course, that might be just the point: if Endless Highway makes a single new fan for The Band, it’s done its job, and a fine one too.

EDITORS’ NOTES

If there’s any group that’s overdue for a tribute, it’s The Band, who in their late 60s heyday made some of the greatest music no one listens to anymore. Just two kinds of covers make these albums succeed: left-field versions that make you hear an old song in a whole new way, and passionate homage that makes the original live and breathe all over again. Indie-roots rockers My Morning Jacket use near-identical arrangements on their heartfelt cover of “It Makes No Difference,” jam-band extraordinaire Widespread Panic summons the spirit of Garth Hudson’s brilliant organ playing on “Chest Fever,” and the Allman Brothers offer a suitably gritty, down-home “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” Lee Ann Womack’s straight-ahead honky-tonk take on “The Weight” satisfies, but who could ruin a song like that? More interesting are Rosanne Cash’s passionate, plainspoken “Unfaithful Servant”; a pleasantly light-footed acoustic version of “This Wheel’s On Fire” by indie rockers Guster; and The Roches, who transform “Acadian Driftwood” into a Celtic-flavored lament, complete with pennywhistle, violin, accordion, and the sisters’ lovely folk harmonies. As for the rest — from Jack Johnson’s uber-mellow “I Shall Be Released” to Death Cab’s curiously subdued “Rockin’ Chair” — honestly, with source material this good, it’s hard not to drive the listener straight into the arms of the original songs. Of course, that might be just the point: if Endless Highway makes a single new fan for The Band, it’s done its job, and a fine one too.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.0 out of 5
48 Ratings

48 Ratings

Mike.D. ,

My Morning Jacket Makes this Album!

My Morning Jacket's lead singer Jim James' haunting voice truely captures the emotion and passion of Rick Danko from the original version. This track is the highlight of an overall great tribute to one of rock's legendary bands. Steve Reynolds simple yet powerful version of Stage Fright is another standout track. I would highly recommend this album to any and every music fan out there.

I would have given this a 5 star rating had iTunes had the six additional tracks cut for bonus discs available to download. Gov't Mule's version of Shape I'm In and ALO covering Ophelia highlight those tracks left off iTunes.

biogrl ,

Hornsby does it again!

This album features some incredible musicians with their own unique spin on some of The Band's top hits. But, Bruce Hornsby's variation of King Harvest is by far the best song on the album. His energetic creative flavor on this classic tune will have you hitting "repeat" again and again. The album is worth the buy if only for this song.

Time plus age ,

Endless Highway

Always a Band fan, in the last year or so I had been having a bit of a Band revival of my own. Making CDs for my family and others, I would include one of their songs here and there. So I was excited to here about the soon to be released Endless Highway compilation of their music. I have enjoyed a number of similar collections of covers (e.g. Return of the Grievous Angel comes to mind) because they introduce me to new artists. I downloaded the entire CD and jumped in my car to listen as I drove. I enjoyed the Roches, Acadian Driftwood, and the Rosanne Cash version of The Unfaithful Servant but the Death Cab for Cutie version of Rockin’ Chair (a song I relate to much more these days) was strikingly one dimensional. This was true of most of the other songs on the CD. It made me rush back to the original versions of the songs and give them a comparison listen. One after another the Bands versions were alive, vibrant, and current. Musicianship, incredible vocals, a togetherness that is impossible to match: timeless classics. Two things struck me; how covering groups like The Band can expose the limitations of the performers that make the attempt and that I couldn’t advise anyone to buy this CD. If you don’t know or have forgotten The Bands music go buy the original and you’ll understand why this is the only group Bob ever wanted behind him.

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