It is always difficult to come forth with a cover of a track that is as storied as Mac Davis’ “In the Ghetto”. Performed by as wide of a swath as both Elvis and South Park’s Cartman, it stands to reason that there is little that performers could do to otherwise make this track their own. Adam Rader, a singer-songwriter, looks to imbue the track with just a little bit of his own soul. With nothing more than his smooth vocals, a piano, a guitar, and a little bit of percussion, there is a humble approach taken to this cover. Taking an Atlas-like approach, Rader’s vocals are front and center here. Where he could so easily keep the same inflection and tone throughout the track’s 200 seconds, each stanza has Rader contextualize the ongoing story in a slightly different way.
Despite the largeness of the track, I feel that Rader has added just enough of his own soul to make it into something that his live audiences would absolutely go nuts over.
However, “Any Way I Can” may just be better. A little bit more loud and energetic, this track touches upon the work of Jason Mraz and The Wallflowers, but differs in a few key areas. Rader breaks free of the singer-songwriter “style” that has developed in the years since Dave Matthews became a household name and genuinely seems to be having fun with this song.
Top Track: Any Way I Can
Adam Rader – S/T EP (CD) / 2010 Self / 2 Tracks / http://www.adamrader.com / http://www.myspace.com/adamradermusic