Song covers: Is creativity optional?
In our genre, when a group re-makes a song for a table project, be it a hymn or a Southern Gospel classic, frequently the track and the vocal arrangement are close to note-for-note remakes of other group’s versions.
How important is it that a group bring something fresh to a cover of a hymn or classic song? Is it…
- nice but completely unnecessary, with note-for-note remakes being perfectly fine?
- strongly suggested?
- so important that a group shouldn’t cut a song unless they can bring something new to it?
It is worth noting that this discussion specifically pertains to hymns and classic songs. A song that has been cut once and then largely forgotten (e.g., “When Mercy Came Down” by the Mark Trammell Trio or “One Splendid Day” by the Florida Boys) certainly falls into a different class; if virtually nobody remembers the song, and your rendition is as good as new, I at least see a no harm in a remake that closely follows the original arrangement.
And just for fun (and comparison), in the comments, please note (a) how many Southern Gospel hymns/classics/table projects you own, (b) how many renditions of “Amazing Grace” you own, and (c) how many renditions of “How Great Thou Art” you own. Estimates are okay. In my case, it’s about 500, precisely 71, and precisely 74.