Over the last couple years or so, since he left his stage name behind and started playing under his own, Phillip-Michael Scales has been playing any and every venue. He’s actively looking for his big break rather than passively waiting around doing the same old stuff, and for that I admire him. Some of those gigs require him to play mostly covers, so he’s got a nice arsenal of popular tunes he can bring out whenever he wants. But his most recent video is a little more risky than most.
Trying to cover The Beatles is truly the Kobayashi Maru of the music world. You’re never going to be able to make a better version of one of their songs, so the only choice is to come at it a different way. On “A Day In The Life,” Scales plays a bluesy solo guitar and booming vocals instead of the impeccably produced original with a full orchestra and all those layers.
Stripped down to it’s bare bones, the song works amazingly well. You would expect it to, I suppose, being written by two of the great songwriters of the 20th century. Scales gives the song such an intimate treatment that you feel like he knows the people in the story he’s telling.
It’s one of the less-covered tunes by The Beatles, and with good reason. It’s a tough nut to crack, but Scales does it well here.
If you like what you hear, come out to Tonic Room tomorrow night to catch Phillip-Michael Scales and Nikki Morgan. Tickets can be found here.