Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this afternoon’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze on Erik Knear, a DIY musician who writes, records, and produces his own work. He has an impressive repertoire of music available online, but his latest endeavor is a cover of a particularly unique classic. Knear’s upcoming release, which will be available on all major streaming and download platforms, is a rendition of Billy Joel’s ‘And So It Goes.’
Before delving into Knear’s take on the track, it’s worth setting the scene to give context to the tune. ‘And So It Goes’ was a single off ‘Storm Front,’ Joel’s wildly popular eleventh studio record that spawned hits like ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire.’ Joel’s line-up changed dramatically in the recording process, and the album has since been long lauded as one of his best. ‘And So It Goes’ is included on that record, a solemn piano ballad about opening one’s heart to someone else.
One of the reasons ‘And So It Goes’ has always been so impactful is because it exudes solitude and vulnerability. Joel scored himself such a simple arrangement, and lines like, “so I will share this room with you, and you can have this heart to break,” are some of his most poignant. Knear’s version of the song maintains that aura of simplicity, even though it does add quite a bit more instrumentation.
Knear’s vocals grow on you the longer you spend with them. When he begins to emotionally croon, he almost has a Joe Walsh-like sound to his voice. It’s not a traditionally pretty voice, and it doesn’t reach every note it tries to, but you can feel it to your core and Knear’s sincerity is never in question. His ‘And So It Goes’ is a passionate affair, one that’s elegantly accented by searing, bluesy electric guitars and sparse, but effective drumming.
Doused in reverb, this take on ‘And So It Goes’ changes up the delivery and presentation of the song, which I couldn’t be happier about. I’ll often get three types of covers: the bad ones, the ones that sound like they’ve been sculpted for ‘American Idol,’ and the good ones that take some creative liberties to make the song their own. That’s what Knear does: he makes ‘And So It Goes’ sound like an entirely different song, which is good.
Diehard Billy Joel fans might not actually enjoy this tune. It’s rawer, rougher, and less digestible than the original cut. Open minded listeners will find something especially interesting here, though, and it’s worth paying attention to. This is a great Billy Joel cover that takes liberties in a successful fashion. Check out Erik Knear below.