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Free Music Tuesday: Doveman Covers "Footloose"

By Marcus Gilmer in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 1, 2008 8:35PM

2008_07_01_doveman.jpgWe've swooned to Doveman before, but we're admittedly familiar with the collective's frontman, Thomas Bartlett, thanks to collaborations with a wide-range of other groups (The Swell Season, The National, Antony & The Johnsons). And now Bartlett has given us another reason to swoon: a free cover record of songs from the movie Footloose. But this is not merely a toss-off collection. Gabriel Greenberg, Doveman cover artist and childhood friend of Barlett's, gives the full explanation:

When I was very young, my half-sister Jenny died tragically. She was a teenager, and it was the 80's. She left behind a wardrobe of brightly colored clothes, rainbow stickers, life-size paintings, doodles on lined paper, and hundreds of tapes. These constitute most of my memories of her. It's sad for me to look at these things, and usually I don't. But a couple of summers ago I found a tape of hers with a startling cover photograph - this was Footloose. I couldn't stop listening: it was a portrait of 80's love, desire, pain, freedom, and frenzy; of being a teenager in a time of change. By listening, I could step into Jenny's shoes, see things from her vantage point. I could be emancipated by rock and roll and walkmen, just as she had been. We could listen together.

I asked my friend Thomas to cover the album, which, sheltered as he is, he had never heard before. I was clear that I wanted to him to cover the whole album - the point wasn't to rework any one song, but to re-imagine the picture they made together. With a new Footloose we could reply to the past, tell our own story about being young. This is what he made.

It's with this in mind that you have to approach this cover record. Gone is the carefree rebellion captured by Kenny Loggins, replaced by Bartlett's trademark hushed intensity which transmits heartache more than anything else. Bartlett is coming to town with Nico Muhly and Doveman collaborator Sam Amidon at the end of August.

DOWNLOAD: Doveman - Footloose

Thomas Barlett (aka Doveman), Nico Muhly, and Sam Amidon, August 28, 8 p.m., Lakeshore Theater, $15 via TicketWeb