Monday, June 28, 2010

In praise of Todd Baio, and everyone else who has covered "Tumbling Tumbleweeds"

I can't get the Sons of the Pioneers out of my head (see previous posts in my Empoprise-MU music blog and my Empoprise-IE Inland Empire blog), and on Monday night I found myself scouring and YouTube for just about every artist who has covered Bob Nolan's "Tumbling Tumbleweeds." See this FriendFeed thread for the results, which include:

Gene Autry
Moe Bandy
Perry Como
Bing Crosby
Clint Eastwood
Don Everly
Arthur Fiedler
Leo Kottke
The Muppets
Michael Nesmith
Elvis Presley
Marty Robbins
Shenandoah (with Arlo Guthrie)
Kate Smith
The Supremes
Lawrence Welk (both as an instrumental, and with the Lennon Sisters)
Slim Whitman

Now Kottke and Fiedler performed the song as an instrumental, and some of the artists (such as Crosby) sang it solo, but most of the people who covered the song duplicated the harmonies from the original Sons of the Pioneers version.

As mentioned above, I got some of these from YouTube, and YouTube is obviously known for the versions of less-famous people. I wanted to share one of those with you here. The singer is Todd Baio. Baio, like Bing Crosby, chooses to sing this solo, but he plays his ukelele while he does it. This video was recorded live at a folk music festival in October, 2008.

A little more about Baio, from his website:

Todd Baio has been an active musician for 20 years. His live music work experience is vast and varied. He has played everywhere from colleges, to clubs, to churches, bookstores, coffee shops, private parties, and family events.

His passion is for playing simple acoustic music that is interactive, fun, and that can be tailored to a multitude of situations. Todd’s song choices have a fresh feel while being firmly rooted in the folk traditions of the past. He draws upon both adult and children’s music from great artists such as Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Leadbelly, as well as contemporary artists such as Raffi, Dan Zanes, as well as writing originals himself.

Being a multi-instrumentalist, Todd uses the guitar, ukulele, harmonica, kazoo, various vocal techniques, and various percussion instruments in his presentations.

Hmm...this song could use a kazoo solo...

(Picture source, license)
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