16 of Waxahatchee’s best cover songs
Waxahatchee is the longtime project of Katie Crutchfield. She conceived the band in 2010 in her home state of Alabama (the band's namesake is a creek outside of Birmingham) around the time of the dissolution of P.S. Eliot, her former band with her sister Alison Crutchfield (later of Swearin'). Five albums later and over a decade later, Waxahatchee hasn't stopped making great indie-folk. She has also always embraced the opportunity to cover other songs, including songs by classic folk, country, and rock musicians, as well as songs by her peers. She's released a handful of studio-recorded covers, adn she's done even more at her live shows over the years. With so many to choose from, we've rounded up 16 of our favorite covers that Waxahatchee has done. Read on for the list, in no particular order...
"So Hot You're Hurting My Feelings" (covering Caroline Polachek)
Katie's acoustic cover of Caroline Polachek's hit shouldn't make sense--it's such a far departure from the original's electronic pop sound--but the earnestness in her voice grounds the cover. She performed it live at a SiriusXMU session in Los Angeles in early 2020.
"Strong Enough" w/ Snail Mail's Lindsey Jordan (covering Sheryl Crow)
At an October 2021 show at Elsewhere in Brooklyn, Katie brought out Lindsey Jordan to duet with her on "Strong Enough," an early Sheryl Crow single that's a great fit for both Katie and Lindsey. They did it with minimal instrumentation, putting Katie and Lindsey's voices in the forefront.
"Thirteen" w/ Bedouine & Hurray for the Riff Raff (covering Big Star)
The indie folk power trio of Bedouine, Waxahatchee, and Hurray for the Riff Raff teamed up for this cover in 2020. They trade verses, and on the choruses their voices mesh for incredible harmonies. Hard to think of a more suitable song for the trio than a classic '70s ballad like this one.
"Farewell Transmission" w/ Kevin Morby (covering Songs: Ohia)
Katie and her partner Kevin Morby have been playing a lot of music together lately (especially when they were stuck at home during lockdown), and their folk and blues sensibilities are on full display in this cover of the late Jason Molina's "Farewell Transmission." Kevin and Katie strip the song of its darker palette in favor of a more hopeful sound.
"You Don't Know How It Feels" w/ Kevin Morby (covering Tom Petty)
Katie is again joined by Kevin Morby live in Austin for a Tom Petty cover. It's fun to watch how Katie embraces and pushes her onstage guests to the fore vocally; her voice is never lost because it's so distinctive. This version of "You Don't Know How It Feels" is a perfect example of that.
"It Ain't Me Babe" w/ Kevin Morby (covering Bob Dylan)
Another one from Katie and Kevin, this time at the studio at Sydney Opera House. They harmonize in lock-step to Bob Dylan's tragic breakup ballad "It Ain't Me Babe."
"The Steps" (covering Haim)
Live from Forest Hills Stadium in Queens in July 2021, Waxahatchee covered Haim's early hit "The Steps." Katie unsurprisingly brings a more strummy, less poppy sensibility to the song, but similar to her take on Caroline Polachek, it works fantastically. (Fair warning, the video picks up after the first verse.)
"Wrecking Ball" (covering Gillian Welch)
Barefoot at Lincoln Theater in Washington, DC, Katie covered Gillian Welch's "Wrecking Ball" in October 2021. It's pretty true to the original, and proves again how apt Katie is to cover folk and alt-country artists of any time.
"Fruits of My Labor" (covering Lucinda Williams)
Another folk/alt-country classic, "Fruits of My Labor" sees the more soulful side of Waxahatchee. The instrumental is guitar heavy, and Katie's voice cuts right through for a modern spin on Lucinda Williams's sound.
"Oblivion" w/ Alison Crutchfield (covering Grimes)
Joined by sister and frequent collaborator Alison Crutchfield of Swearin', Katie ventures outside of the folky realm for a cover of Grimes' art pop modern classic "Oblivion." The track trades electronics for banging drums and slightly distorted guitars. The dreaminess of the vocals suits the Crutchfield sisters really well.
"Liar's Tale" (covering Guided by Voices)
Waxahatchee covered Guided by Voices several times early in their tenure, including this version of "Liar's Tale" from 2013. It's lo-fi, echoey, and nearly a capella, featuring only Katie's voice and guitar.
"Light of a Clear Blue Morning" (covering Dolly Parton)
This studio cover of Dolly Parton's "Light of a Clear Blue Morning" from the deluxe edition of Saint Cloud might be one of Waxahatchee's best covers ever. It pays tribute to Dolly while showcasing Katie's voice, unvarnished and true.
"Streets of Philadelphia" (covering Bruce Springsteen)
Another great Saint Cloud bonus track is Waxahatchee's performance of Springsteen's "Streets of Philadelphia," which adds richly layered harmony and organ-like keyboard to the chorus.
"Angeles" (covering Elliott Smith)
Waxahatchee delivered on a heavily electrified cover of "Angeles" for Say Yes! A Tribute to Elliott Smith in 2016. It's a pretty far departure from the original, and really brings out the darkness of the lyrics.
"Talking Dust Bowl Blues" (covering Woody Guthrie)
In 2021, Waxahatchee performed a quiet, acoustic cover of "Talking Dust Bowl Blues" for Home In This World: Woody Guthrie's Dustbowl Ballads. Katie hardly sings--it's a talking song that digs into her southern roots.
"Be Here To Love Me" (covering Townes Van Zandt)
Earlier this year, Waxahatchee covered "Be Here To Love Me," originally by Townes Van Zandt, at a show at Thalia Hall in Chicago. The sliding guitar pairs classically with Katie's voice. Another great modern take on a country classic.