Dan Wilson: Re-Covered (Big Deal)

Dan Wilson
(Big Deal)

Dan Wilson is probably best known by most as the front man for Semisonic, and Trip Shakespeare before that. But, he’s been anything but taking it easy since Semisonic stopped recording and touring in 2001.

For the past decade-and-a-half, Wilson has put out a number or solo albums and turned into a songwriter for some of the biggest musical acts of the past couple of decades – writing or co-writing a slew of hits across genres, a list that includes Adele, Dixie Chicks, Weezer Taylor Swift, Pink and Nas, among dozens more.

Wilson’s finally decided to cover himself with his latest record, ‘Re-Covered.’ The 13 tracks which make up the record are a beautiful reimaging of songs, many you’ve heard plenty of times before, but never like this. The one exception to the theme being Semisonic’s “Closing Time,” sang and played here with near reverence. He also does endearing takes on “Someone Like You” (Adele), “Home” (Dierks Bently) and “If I Walk Away” (Josh Groban). But on an album of heartbreakingly stunning songs, nowhere does he rework a song better than on “Not Ready to Make Nice,” the defiant anthem that the Dixie Chicks sang after the unjustifiable nasty backlash they received from country music radio in the George W. Bush-era.

From start to finish, ;Re-Covered; is a nearly perfect record that begs the question of whether Dan Wilson is a better musician or songwriter. I think it’s a toss-up.