Who’s Covering Whom? | HN’s Sixth-Annual Take Cover Benefit Concerts

Across the board, last year’s Take Cover artists had myriad reasons for the Nebraska songs they performed. Some chose according to style, like CJ Mills’ high-octane rendition of High Up’s “Two Weeks.” Others tackled their musical influences, like with The Ambulanters’ raucous take on UUVVWWZ. And some went the ostentatious rout, like with I Forgot To Love My Father’s hilariously dark version of “Sex To The Devil.” For an act that is inherently a form of imitation, covering another musician’s work gives ample room for creativity.

The sixth-annual Take Cover concert and Hear Nebraska benefit has arrived, with 23 great Nebraska acts performing songs by some of their favorite in-state colleagues in two shows, Friday, Jan 27 at The Bourbon and Saturday, Jan 28 at The Waiting Room. Thanks to our sponsors at Ameritas and Medical Solutions, both Lincoln and Omaha concerts are free to attending, with a suggested $10 donation helping HN continue to support and promote Nebraska music.

Judging by the list of cover choices this year, we’re in for more signature moments. Read on for the details on which bands are covering which, and what their choices mean to them. You’ll also find the details on emcees, raffle prizes and more. RSVP to Take Cover Lincoln here; and Take Cover Omaha here.

Take Cover Lincoln

Details: 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan 28 at The Bourbon; NO COVER (suggested $10 donation)

Bands: Life Is Cool, Jack Hotel, Salt Creek, The Morbs, Mad Dog and the 20/20’s, Domestica, Dirty Talker, Briner, Better Friend, Andrea Von Kampen and Kellison Acoustic Duo

Host: Andrew Stellmon, HN’s managing editor

Sponsor: Ameritas: “Ameritas is proud to sponsor the sixth annual Take Cover – Lincoln. By supporting Hear Nebraska and other organizations in the arts, Ameritas fulfills life through color, music, performance and dance. Thanks to the artists who continue to share their talents, our community is a place where we love to work, live and express ourselves.”

Raffle Prizes donated by Maha Music Festival, FUSE Coworking, The Coffee House, Lefty’s Records, Vega, LeadBelly, 1867 Bar, Cultiva, The Bay, Lincoln Calling, Hear Nebraska

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Life Is Cool

Song: “Song About Chess” by Bogusman

“The Bogusmen are near and dear. In addition to Nate and Andy helping James form a touring version of PHARMACY SPIRITS, Nasty Nate long lent his talents as the original LIC bassist. Alex in particular really enjoys this year’s self-titled Bogusman LP and suggested “Song About Chess” as a cover pick. As emulating Bogusman’s post-hardcore grit would surely be a departure from LIC’s pop synthabilities, we tucked that track into a bed of white satin and kissed it good night. We’re quite proud of our sleeping giant.” — Life Is Cool

Song: “Amen Yves” by For Against

“For Against are an integral part of the foundation of Nebraska music and are Nebraska’s most significant contribution to the lineage of music that formed our (Eric and Jim’s, at least) personal cultural center in our formative years and continues to be the narrative that we aspire to contribute our own little musical quilt block to. It is the sound of a culture being carried forward in spite of itself by those pushed to its fringes. A pre-internet modernism that rivals most outputs in this present world of endless access. We chose the now 30-year-old “Amen Yves”  as it is centered around our most persistent fascination: the forgotten future of pop.” — Life Is Cool

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Jack Hotel

Song: “Summer Peaches” by Matt Cox

Description: “Summer Peaches,” to me, is a perfect song. It’s a song with personality. It’s sweet, sad, funny, kind and wise. It’s a song that contains space; when I hear it, I want to live in it, move around in it, feel its mud between my toes and swim in its rivers. The lyrics are married perfectly to the melody, but irrespective of whatever it’s “about,” it has a way of making me tear up. It’s the sound. I would feel the same way if it were in an alien language.” — Günter Voelker

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Song: “Sunshine” by Crush The Clown

“Crush The Clown was an easy and immediate choice for a cover. The hard part was selecting only one beautiful gem from the treasure chest that is their catalogue. Westra and company stand out for having written, recorded and performed some of the greatest music that Nebraska has ever heard.”  — Jeff Gustafson

Song: “Ghost House” by The Sunks

“Of all things, I stumbled on this song while watching some videos from the Sofar Sounds Omaha archive. I was immediately drawn in hearing this song for the first time. The talented songwriting on “Ghost House” exhibits great contrast, ranging from a slow, almost meditative start and builds to a roaring finish. We love it!”  — Sarah Bailey


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Salt Creek

Song: “Railroad Spikes” by Super Ghost

“The reason we are covering Super Ghost is because they are a very talented band from Nebraska and are incredible songwriters. The reason we are covering “Railroad Spikes” is because we want the chance to steal the song from them and make it our own, they don’t play it enough so we are adopting it and saying it’s our song from now on. We might even record it and then hire a lawyer to make them take their cover of our song down. After Take Cover, this will be our song. Well… this is our song anyway. SO yeah. Maybe we’re not covering anyone. IDK.” — Nathan Richardson


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Mad Dog & the 20/20s

Song: “I Just Wanna Have A Good Time” by The Heat Machine

“Mad Dog and the 20/20s have decided to cover “I Just Wanna Have A Good Time” by Lincoln Nebraska’s own The Heat Machine as well as unveiling a brand new original song from our upcoming album that we will be recording in early January.  As far as our cover choice goes, we all have an extensive love for Ska music. Growing up in Kearney Nebraska, some of our fondest memories for local shows can be traced back to the handful of times The Heat Machine made their way through our hometown. They were such a vibrant and all around awesome group that it would be hard for us not to pay homage to them through our love for their music.” — Mad Dog & the 20/20s

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Lucas Kellison

Song: “Two Stupid Kids” by Andrea von Kampen

“Andrea is one of the most talented singer-songwriters I’ve come across, and she’s had tremendous success in multitude of musical endeavors. This song is a killer folky, dusty, grassy texture in its original form, so I thought it would be really fun/funny to reharm around the original melody and do something with jazz/funk overtones. Hopefully she doesn’t kill me if/when she hears it.” — Lucas Kellison

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The Morbs

Song: “Looping” by Sideshow

“Caulfield records is not just a local treasure, but a reflection of the times and the places where this music thrived. I have always been drawn to the music on this label and it is an honor to have such pivotal musicians come from our scene. With a nod of respect to all of Caulfield, the Morbs will perform Sideshow’s “Looping” off their record Eggplants and Sunspots.”  — Ch Egen

Song: “Keep It Up” by Kait Berreckman

“I chose “Keep It Up” because Kait is an amazing songwriter and I love running into her around Benson.” — Monica Maher

Song: “Megan’s Song” by Hana Zara

“The first time I heard Hana perform this song, I cried, sent it to my best friend in Boston, and then we Skyped for three hours. This song is an emphatic reminder that the closest bonds we form often follow us throughout our lives. Close friends have seen each other change, seen each other struggle and loved each other through these life events. This song is a tribute to that enduring love and I’m overjoyed that we get to perform it. — Maya Khasin

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Andrea Von Kampen

Song: “Two At A Time” by Evan Bartels

“Last year I was scrolling through different Sonata Sessions on Hear Nebraska and heard “Two at a Time” by Evan Bartels. It was honest, raw, and not trying to sound or be like anyone else. Evan is a true storyteller.” — Andrea von Kampen


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Dirty Talker

Songs: “Makeup Won’t Cover It” by Gaberdine & “Japanese Sunflower” by Opium Taylor

“The two songs we selected were influential during our formative years in the late 1990s. We loved Gabardine for their rhythmic precision, and their song “Make Up Won’t Cover It” has everything for us, especially a few tempo changes and a catchy back beat. Opium Taylor’s “Japanese Sunflower” taught us a lesson about space and letting a song breathe. Over 15 years later, we want to honor our friends and hope that we can do their songs justice.” — Dirty Talker

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Better Friend

Song: “Without You” by Mesonjixx

“We wanted to try something that was different in style than what we usually perform or write. When we tried to think of a song by Lincoln band, that is not like us, Meg through the idea for “Without You” out pretty quick. Mary and Myles bring something to Lincoln’s scene that we should feel lucky to be able to see regularly. Mesonjixx is a lot more “mellowed out” than Better Friend usually is. Finding a happy marriage of where their music meets our intensity has been fun.” — Better Friend


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Domestica will also perform at Take Cover Lincoln.


Take Cover Omaha

Details: 8 p.m. on Saturday, Jan 28 at The Waiting Room; NO COVER (suggested $10 donation)

Bands: See Through Dresses, David Nance, Dominique Morgan, Rothsteen, Jocelyn, Thick Paint, Todd Zack Jr., The Way Out, Bach Mai, Edem Soul Music, Song Syndrome and Mint Wad Willy

Host: High Up vocalist Christine Fink

Sponsor: Medical Solutions  “Medical Solutions helps nurses discover all 50 states, but as a proudly Nebraska-based company, we’re dedicated to supporting our state’s music & arts community and honored to sponsor Hear Nebraska’s Take Cover benefit.”

Raffle prizes donated by Maha Music Festival, Almost Music, Slowdown, Hello Holiday, Benson Brewery, Omaha Bicycle Co., Lincoln Calling, Hear Nebraska.

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Todd Zack Jr

Song: “Airwaves” by Both

Description: The song got to me the first time I heard it. Definitely my kind of vibe, and I even hit BOTH up wishing it was me as a feature instead of Rothsteen. But I knew when I heard it and this performance idea came about that I could flip the song something crazy and make it my own. Fans of them, and the homage will be. Dope.” — Todd Zack Jr.

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See Through Dresses

Songs: “Everything Means Nothing to Me” by Elliott Smith; “A New Friend” by The Good Life

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Song: “Lying Eyes” by Aly Peeler

“The reason why I picked “Lying Eyes” by Aly peeler is because when I first heard the song it reminded me of me. I felt like she was talking to me telling me that I was the liar, not in her mind but in my mind. In that time period`  was lying to myself and other people a lot, and knowing that really said a lot to me.” — Jocelyn

Song: “BDF” by Ben Baldwin.

“I chose this song because of the grove it rings to my body. When I first heard Ben play this song I was thinking to myself, “Dang I wish I wrote this song, it’s so good!” And now I get to perform it, which is just as good.” — Jocelyn

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Dominique Morgan

Song: “Fire” by Belles & Whistles

“I first met Jamie when I was in the 10th grade for a Leadership Omaha event. I had no idea musicians could live off of their craft and not be Michael Jackson or something. I always loved Mulberry Lane as well. So when I found her and Kelli’s band I was instantly in love. I adore country music. The lyrics, the drama. That speaks to my heart. So the opportunity to sing one of their songs is a huge honor for me.” — Dominique Morgan


Song: “Prove Mama Wrong” by All Young Girls Are Machine Guns

“Becky Lowry put me on in many ways. Between her and Marq Manner they gave me legitimacy in this scene early on. The leg up they gave me put me in the position to do that for other artists. On top of that any time I’ve ever asked her to show up for me she has. She’s the real deal. AYGAMG are the cool girls you want to eat lunch with in high school. And they sound like a choir of angels. So I had to do one of their songs.” — Dominique Morgan


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Mint Wad Willy

Song: “A Picture in Pocket” by Neva Dinova

“This year for Take Cover, we chose to do “A Picture in Pocket” by Neva Dinova. Being a fan for over 20 years, for me, it was as great opportunity to pay homage to my favorite local musician. Even though Jake Bellows doesn’t call Omaha home anymore, he is still one of the best imports. As a band that doesn’t do many covers, I felt this song was a nice fit. With its night driving feel and catchy chorus, you can’t go wrong.”  — Brian Richardson

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Bach Mai 

Songs: “Haircut” by See Through Dresses; “See It Through” by Andrea von Kampen

“See Through Dresses has been rocking hard the last few years and I can’t stop listening to “Haircut.” I think it will be interesting translating the angst to an acoustic setting. Andrea, Josh’s cousin, has been an immediate inspiration for us after learning of her talents during the Tiny Desk Concert Contest. Her single is equally exciting for us to cover!” — Bach Mai

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Song Syndrome

Song: “Between The Bars” by Elliott Smith

“I chose this Elliott Smith tune. I’m sure many have all over the world and this beautiful gem is still being played today. At least for me it is. I asked the boys if they were down for it and they said yeah. So for us to be performing this song means a lot to me because I can relate so much due to my past addiction I had with alcohol myself.” — Mim Aparo

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Song: “First Day Of My Life” by Bright Eyes

“It reminds me of my approach to music. I look at music with fresh eyes, like it’s the first day of my life.” — Peedi Rothsteen

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Edem Soul Music, Thick Paint, The Way Out, David Nance are also playing Take Cover Omaha