In a great example of an artist who constantly challenges himself and tries to dig deeper into his abilities, lead singer of the Counting Crows, Adam Duritz, succeeded spectacularly in the week leading up to Valentine’s Day.
It all happened on Twitter (@countingcrows), a forum that Duritz has certainly elevated to a quirky, disheveled and utterly endearing art form. After posting his goal to learn, record and post one new (free) Valentine’s Day-themed song per day for each of the seven days leading up to February 14th, Adam took his followers on a wild ride and taught us musicians a few things in the process.
He spent some LONG nights (and early/late mornings as well) locked away, learning and recording these songs. He was frustrated and annoyed and seemingly loved every minute of it and his followers on Twitter were ecstatic to see a new song they could download every morning.
At the end of the 7 songs in 7 days, Adam turned it into an album entitled All My Bloody Valentines with a contest on Counting Crows’ website to see who could design the best cover artwork for the album.
For me, it was so interesting to see such a big time artist getting down and dirty with his fans, talking with them about the songs and facilitating so much discussion, collaboration and innovation with this contest. Adam is the only one who has been taking the cover art submissions off of the server and uploading them for all to see and although it’s a lot of work (just read his Twitter feed from the past few days), he is doing it with gusto and as he does so, the community that surrounds him and Counting Crows becomes even more close-knit.
My personal favorite from the seven songs is the fourth track, “You Might Think” by Ric Ocasek. It’s beautiful, haunting and Adam puts SO much emotion into this song, especially in the choruses…I’ve probably listened to it fifteen times so far.
You can go to http://countingcrows.com/allmybloodyvalentines/ to download the FREE album and submit piece of cover art if you’re so inclined. The track listing is included below along with some highlights of the running dialogue strewn across the Counting Crows Twitter feed throughout the week of recording.
- Valentine’s Day – Steve Earle
- O My Sweet Carolina – Ryan Adams
- Rainbow Sleeves – Tom Waits
- You Might Think – Ric Ocasek
- The Dark End of the Street – Dan Penn & Chips Moman
- Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright – Bob Dylan
- On the Sunny Side of the Street – Jimmy McHugh & Dorothy Fields
(note: I DID edit some of these Tweets to make them PC BUT left any spelling errors untouched)
All of these can be found on Twitter – @countingcrows:
2/8 – May try to learn & record a song each day til Valentine’s Day. I’ve always been overambitious
2/9 – I decided to try “O My Sweet Carolina” by Ryan Adam’s for u today. It’s not a perfect version but I like the way it feels and it’s different
2/9 – It’s not exactly a Valentine, except that, for many, Valentine’s Day can be about riding your life down til all u got’s a handful of nothing
2/9 – So this is me playing Ryan Adam’s “O My Sweet Carolina”. Flawed, but it feels like I feel & that’s good enough for me.
2/10 – Found a great Valentine song for tmw but it’s a _. Tom Waits wrote it, but for Rickie Lee Jones so the thing needs to be transposed
2/10 – I’m never gonna be able to play this _ song & I REALLY want to. I’ll play all _ night long if that’s what it takes
2/10 – It turns out learning & recording a Valentine song every day for a week is stretching my abilities a bit. Which don’t mean I ain’t doin’ it.
2/10 – Just means this song was a _. Tom Waits wrote it for Rickie Lee Jones & Bette Midler but HE never recorded it so I had to transpose it.
That said, I love this song. So here’s ME playing a clumsy (but loving) version of Tom Waits’ “Rainbow Sleeves”
You’re all insane. Let me repeat my self again: HERE’S A FREE DOWNLOAD of ME playing “Rainbow Sleeves” by Tom Waits
Just what exactly are u thinking might be the sinister motivation behind working at it all night & then GIVING u a FREE DOWNLOAD every day?
2/11 – It’s 8AM and I finally finished today’s Valentine Song. ___, this one was harder to play than last night’s. It took 8hrs to get it.
2/12 – Oh well…Musical Solution #243: when you NEED the gospel but you can’t FIND the gospel, find the liquor cabinet because you NEED the liquor
When frustration & exhaustion threatened to get the best of me last night, pure sweet golden tequila carried me through to my destination.
2/13 – I’m finding, learning (brutal), recording (really brutal), and posting a different Valentine cover song every day for a week
I may have to postpone the trip a week from sheer exhaustion. These Valentine songs have added up to 7 total hrs of sleep for me since Wed.
Tomorrow’s song? Ugh…I dunno. I’ve played it 100 times & totally blown out my voice screaming the vocal. It’s so fun. I gotta get it right
There is no way. I refuse to believe this is gonna be another night like last night. And the night before. And the night before that. And…
Problem is it’s a Dylan song & I know it but I changed lyrics to fit me. In his song it’s all the girl’s fault; in my life it’s usually mine
I still left a little “nasty” in there though. Y’know, no matter whose fault it is, at some point someone leaves &, well you know, _ them
The biggest problem is that it’s really fast so I’m howlin AND it’s hard to play. If I’m not blowing the lyric, I’m screwing the piano part
And, yes, I’m still up. It’s 7:15 & I’m still up. My voice is gone though so I’m done for tonite. Either I already got it or I’ll get it tmw
Here’s the deal: I have 2 imperfect but very different takes on this song. 1st is on one piano @ around 1:30AM & 2nd on another piano at 7AM
The effects of staying up all night singing are pretty evident. My voice is gone later but the song is strangely more relaxed if slurry.
I can’t decide btwn the 2 & I can’t sing this anymore if I wanna still record the final song tonite so I’m just gonna give u both.
Funny how the two different pianos make such a difference in the tracks. The louder more fucked up piano makes me sing entirely differently
Biggest problem for tmw is deciding what the last song should be. I have 1 I was practicing but I don’t know…it’s repeating an songwriter.
I’d like a diferent song. I realize now though that they take all night cuz it’s just very hard to play a song well when u just learned it.
There’s little to do w/”I & Love & You” or Carole King’s “So Far Away”. Great songs-boring covers. I tried My Funny Valentine. It’s too hard
I love those songs too but they’re already the way I’d play them. Never understood why people wanna hear u cover songs like that. Zzzzzzzzzz
I picked a very simple super-smile of a song for the Valentines Day Finale. Turns out it’s a really friggin’ hard song in disguise! Not fair
SHAZAM! I just recorded my Valentines Day Finale. Song #7 for Day 7 is done. What a perfect week for a great Valentines Day! LA here I come!
One thing I can definitely tell you about this song is that it is most certainly NOT the song you’re expecting. Hope it makes you smile.
Here’s the BIG FINALE! It’s ME playing “On The Sunny Side Of The Street”. Happy Valentines Day! Happy Any Old Day!
Enjoy the song everybody and have great day today. I had a great week with all of you.
Imagine my Valentine recordings are an album called ALL MY BLOODY VALENTINES. Wanna make an album cover for me? Cool. Stay tuned for details
You’ll be able to upload your Album Cover Creations & get FREE DOWNLOADS of ALL the songs in 1 place. It’s your turn. Make me a cool cover!
ALL MY BLOODY VALENTINES “make my cover art (please)” Contest runs til 11PM EST on March 4. C’mon, I did the songs, YOU do the album cover.
Do you want a free download from ME? Click this link to receive your free MP3! http://forms.aweber.com/form/76/2076721876.htm