Diamond-selling alternative act AWOLNATION have officially released their highly anticipated covers and collaborations album My Echo, My Shadow, My Covers and Me, via Better Noise Music. The album’s epic track listing was revealed earlier this winter and includes collaborations with Beck, Jewel, Portugal. The Man, Taylor Hanson of Hanson, Brandon Boyd of Incubus, and more. The project is a collection of masterfully crafted and carefully curated covers, with each track featuring at least one acclaimed musical artist with whom AWOLNATION’s founder Aaron Bruno has a personal connection. See full track listing below. The aim of the project is to illustrate the healing power of music and to celebrate the collaborative spirit of the artistic community.
My Echo, My Shadow, My Covers and Me is now available to stream and download across platforms HERE.
AWOLNATION earlier this week announced dates for their headlining “Falling Forward” U.S. tour featuring special guests Badflower and additional support from UK-based alternative act The Mysterines. Tickets are on sale to the public today starting at 10am (local time) at https://www.awolnationmusic.com. A full list of upcoming shows can be found below.
Aaron Bruno said the following of wanting to create this project in reaction to the mixed emotions that came with 2020’s lockdown, in conversations with with TV/radio personality and music journalist Allison Hagendorf: “I know a lot of artists and everybody deals with fear differently, and my way of dealing with it was to never stop moving. And so that’s why I just started making a covers album instead of feeling too defeated by everything getting shut down. I thought, ‘Well at least if I stay busy and stay active, I’ll feel productive.’ It also allowed me to be prepared to make original music as well because the last thing I wanted to do is release Angel Miners, which is the fourth AWOL record and then just make the fifth one right away. It didn’t feel appropriate. I didn’t feel emotionally capable because I just said everything I wanted to say on that album, so this was a great palate cleanser for me.” Fans can find more of their conversation on AWOLNATION’s social media platforms and YouTube.
See below additional commentary from Aaron Bruno on each track from the album.
To celebrate today’s album launch, the band also premiered an official music video for one of the tracks, an epic cover of ABBA’s classic “Take A Chance On Me,” featuring Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Jewel. Animated by award-winning film writer, director and editor Eliot Charof, the whimsical video is playing now HERE.
Jewel said of the collaboration, “ABBA is legendary! Their songs are hook machines, and recutting this song with Bruno was so fun. Aaron did all the heavy lifting, so all I had to do was sing.”
The first official offering from the project, a powerful reimagining of Scorpion’s “Wind of Change,” featuring Portugal. The Man and Brandon Boyd of Incubus, has earned millions of streams since its release in January. John Gourley, frontman of Portugal. The Man said of the collaboration, This song marks a very significant point in my childhood. My dad pulled me to the TV in 1989 to watch the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was the first time I truly became aware of the world around me. We wrote a song about that experience called ‘1989’ Like many others, ‘Wind Of Change’ sticks to that memory for me.”
Boyd added, “This track has been drifting around in my headspace since I first heard it as a kid in the 1990s. It never occurred to me that it would be a great song to cover until Aaron suggested it for his project. The deal was doubly sweetened when he told me John from Portugal. The Man would be joining us as well. I’m thrilled to be part of it!”
In their exclusive reveal of the album’s title and release date, Billboard spoke with Brunoabout his core mission for this collection of songs and collaborations: to illustrate the healing benefits music brings and the power of connection within the artist community. Bruno explores mental health through a personal conversation with fellow musician Elohim in collaboration with The Jed Foundation (JED), a leading mental health nonprofit. The conversation, to be held this month, is part of Bruno’s ongoing commitment to raising awareness for mental health through the album’s release. Bruno is also making a generous donation to JED’s mental health awareness efforts.
Since then, the band has released two additional tracks from the project. “Beds are Burning (Featuring Tim McIlrath of Rise Against)” gives a futuristic, raw, and gritty twist to the 1987 Midnight Oil classic. McIlrath said of the collaboration, “When I met Aaron years ago at one of our shows at the Coliseum in L.A., he disclosed his past time spent in hardcore bands, and we bonded over that. I’ve always been a fan of his, both as a person and his music, so it was an easy decision to guest on his version of Midnight Oil’s ‘Beds Are Burning.’ It didn’t hurt that I also love the song and all it stands for. I’m really impressed with the ways in which he made it his own because it’s not an easy song to reimagine.”
Originally recorded by Midnight Oil, drummer Rob Hirst gave their stamp of approval, stating, “A tough new light on our old song! The whistle near the end is a deft touch…congrats AWOLNATION and Tim on doing a brilliant job!”
And then last month saw the release of an infectious cover of Madonna’s classic “Material Girl,” along with Taylor Hanson of pop music sensation Hanson. Taylor Hanson added, “My first introduction to the project was simply the idea of working on an unexpected cover song, and a project that would have many different collaborators as a part of it, and that had my interest. The song ‘Material Girl’ was surprising on several levels, because it’s a song I would never expect either AWOLNATION or HANSON to cover. I loved the challenge of covering the song and staying true to the composition, while giving an authentic interpretation that I was proud of. I think the combination of the track Aaron built and the vocal arrangement I was able to contribute is a dynamic combination.”
To follow the covers project, AWOLNATION is currently working on a new album with original music, after most recently celebrating the 10th anniversary celebration of the group’s platinum debut album Megalithic Symphony, which spawned the rare DIAMOND-certified “Sail”, and releasing their 2020 album ANGEL MINERS & THE LIGHTNING RIDERS. Featuring the hit single “The Best” and collaborations with Rivers Cuomo of Weezer and Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, ANGEL MINERS was the band’s first album after signing to Better Noise Music and was praised by both critics and fans upon release.
MY ECHO, MY SHADOW, MY COVERS AND ME Tracklisting
- Beds Are Burning (featuring Tim McIlrath of Rise Against)
- Eye In The Sky (featuring Beck)
- Take A Chance on Me (featuring Jewel)
- Maniac (featuring Conor Mason of Nothing But Thieves)
- Just A Friend (featuring Hyro The Hero)
- Material Girl (featuring Taylor Hanson of Hanson)
- Wind of Change (featuring Brandon Boyd of Incubus & Portugal. The Man)
- Waiting Room (featuring Grouplove)
- Drive (On digital only)
- Flagpole Sitta (featuring Elohim)
- Alone Again (featuring Midland)
AWOLNATION frontman and founder Aaron Bruno on the album tracks and his collaborators.
• “Beds Are Burning (featuring Tim McIlrath of Rise Against)” – “Ever since I was much younger, I would sing along to this song. The singer may have the coolest dance moves in music video history. I think this song speaks for itself in terms of the message and meaning of the song. I was excited that Tim from Rise Against performed on this one in particular, given the power and influence his lyrics and music have had for so many years.”
• “Eye in the Sky (featuring Beck)” – “This song from 40 years ago feels very relevant to today. More and more with new technologies, we are being watched at all times it feels like. Beck is definitely a major influence for me as an artist and songwriter, so the fact that he joined me on the song is very special to me. His album Sea Change helped me through a serious breakup haha, and I covered one of his songs from that album called Guess I’m Doing Fine in 2020 and that’s actually how we met.”
• “Take A Chance On Me (featuring Jewel)” – “ABBA and Jewel. What more can I say? The importance and impact of ABBA’s music can’t be overstated and now they’ve released new music for the first time in four decades, and got a Grammy nomination! I still can’t believe Jewel agreed to perform on this song with me. She took a chance on me!”
• “Maniac (featuring Conor Mason of Nothing But Thieves)” – “While this is a massive pop song that almost everyone in the world probably knows, the chords are actually extremely complicated and unique. I met Conor from Nothing But Thieves on tour some years back. He has such a commanding and sensitive voice, I knew this song was perfect for him to join me on.”
• “Just a Friend (featuring Hyro The Hero)” – “I did this song before the devastating passing of Mr. Biz Markie, and of course was left with sadness upon learning the news. This was one of the early smash hits of hip-hop before it busted wide open into the mainstream as we know it today. I used to sneak into my older brother’s room to listen to this record all the time. My buddy Hyro The Hero agreed to do his best tribute on this cover. RIP Biz Markie.”
• “Material Girl (featuring Taylor Hanson of Hanson)” – “Taylor Hanson is a very very good singer. And an amazingly kind person. I asked him to try Material Girl, and he was definitely thrown off by it at first, haha, but I am so happy I convinced him to do it!”
• “Wind of Change (featuring Brandon Boyd of Incubus & Portugal The Man)” – “I’ve known Brandon for a while and he’s been good to me over the years of being in this industry. The guys from Portugal the Man feel like brothers from a hardcore band we would be in in another lifetime. This is such a massive song that I thought I’d swing for the fences.”
• “Waiting Room (featuring Grouplove)” – “Covering Fugazi is blasphemy, I know… But I just had to do it, and Grouplove was crazy enough to join me. It was either this, or Minor Threat “Straight Edge.”
• “Drive” – “I recorded this song a while ago, long before the recent passing of Ric Ocasek, but it’s now a nice way to honor him and what an amazing songwriter, artist and producer he was as well. It’s a song that has always just crushed me when it came on, and it’s one that I’ve had in my head for a long time that I would cover some day. It has a little bit of an 80’s/90’s hip hop beat in it as well, which is fun and that’s an era of hip hop I grew up on and love. So it’s really just me putting my own little spin on a song I always loved, and also paying respect to Ric, Benjamin Orr and The Cars.”
• “Flagpole Sitta (featuring Elohim)” – “This song directly tackles mental health and it was Elohim’s idea originally. She is very knowledgeable and passionate about mental health awareness and advocacy, and she is one of my best friends.”
• “Alone Again (featuring Midland)” – “This is one of the saddest songs ever written. Years ago the guys in Midland and I were couch surfing in LA together. We were all completely broke and damaged goods in our creative pursuits. It seemed fitting to finish the album with this song back together. A song about ending up alone … naturally”
AWOLNATION Upcoming Tour Dates
October 06 – Salt Lake City, Utah – The Complex
October 7 – Denver, CO – Fillmore Auditorium
October 8 – Omaha, Nebraska – Barnato
October 10 – Minneapolis, Minnesota – Fillmore
October 11 – Kansas City, Missouri – Uptown Theater
October 13 – Chicago, Illinois – The Riviera Theatre
October 14 – Columbus, Ohio – KEMBA Live! Indoor Pavilion
October 15 – St. Louis, Missouri – The Pageant
October 16 – Newport, Kentucky – Ovation
October 18 – Detroit, Michigan – The Fillmore Detroit
October 19 – Cleveland, Ohio – Agora
October 21 – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – Stage AE
October 22 – New York, New York – The Rooftop at Pier 17
October 23 – Boston, Massachusetts – House of Blues
October 25 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Fillmore
October 26 – Silver Spring, Maryland – Fillmore
October 28 – Atlanta, Georgia – Tabernacle
October 29 – Charlotte, North Carolina – The Fillmore Charlotte
October 31 – Nashville, Tennessee – Brooklyn Bowl
November 2 – Tulsa, Oklahoma – Cain’s Ballroom
November 4 – Houston, Texas – Bayou Music Center
November 5 – Dallas, Texas – Southside Ballroom
November 6 – Austin, Texas – Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater
November 8 – Albuquerque, New Mexico – Revel
November 9 – Tempe, Arizona – Marquee Theatre
November 11 – Los Angeles, California – Hollywood Palladium
November 12 – Las Vegas, Nevada – Brooklyn Bowl
November 13 – Oakland, California – Fox Theater
November 16 – Portland, Oregon – Roseland Theater
November 17 – Portland, Oregon – Roseland Theater
November 18 – Seattle, Washington – Moore Theater
Since its formation by multi-talented musician and songwriter Aaron Bruno in 2010, AWOLNATION has redefined alternative music. With multiple radio hits at the alternative format, including 8 Top Fives and 2 Number Ones, the act has inarguably already made a permanent mark, not just in their genre, but across modern music. Most notably, the chart-topping, record-breaking, diamond-certified track “Sail” created a reference soundscape for a myriad of hits in the last decade. That song launched a career that already spans four albums. Megalithic Symphony, the platinum debut LP that also produced the gold certified “Not Your Fault” and two other Top 10 US singles. Sophomore album Run arrived in 2015, and the follow-up, Here Come The Runts, came in 2018. Then entering a creative partnership with current label Better Noise music, the band’s fourth full-length album, ANGEL MINERS & THE LIGHTNING RIDERS, featuring the hit single “The Best,” was released on April 24, 2020, and features collaborations with Rivers Cuomo of Weezer and Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros. In their positive review of the project, AllMusic calls it, “an energetic, fun, and compulsively listenable set that distills the best of what AWOLNATION can do: making pop-savvy, dance-friendly, alternative rock anthems that are not bound to traditional genre conventions.”
That boundary breaking of genres continued in Bruno’s creative calling, even more so as the world shut down in 2020. While quarantining, Bruno had the idea to celebrate music unapologetically with a team of talented friends – new and old. The result is the upcoming album My Echo, My Shadow, My Covers and Me, a collection of unexpected yet passionately crafted covers and collaborations. Launched with the first single in January 2022, a powerful rendition of “Winds of Change,” featuring Portugal the Man and Brandon Boyd of Incubus, the project offers a sonic experience that takes listeners inward on a retrospective journey and outward on a collective celebration. The homage paid to each song’s original artist is just as fun to dive into as the mutual respect heard in every note from both AWOLNATION and guests.
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