Shinedown‘s Zach Myers and Brent Smith have released a new music video for their cover of Neil Young‘s “Rockin’ in the Free World” under their duo moniker, Smith & Myers. The cover initially appeared on the duo’s first full-length album, Volume 1, earlier this month. Volume 2, the band’s second album, quickly followed earlier this week.
Musically speaking, this reimagination of a rock n’ roll classic could not be more different from the original. Zach and Brent opted to forego the blistering electric guitars and upbeat rhythm section present on Neil Young’s original for a more poignant piano from Myers that highlights Smith’s well-delivered vocals. In fact, the differences between the cover and the original are what make it stand out from the countless renditions over the past 30 years.
“I basically came in with the idea of doing the song with Zach and our producer Dave Bassett. I said ‘we’re not gonna do anything on a guitar, I want do it on a piano because I wanted to take the song and really focus on the story, the lyrics, and present that in a very honest way,'” said Smith in a statement to Live For Live Music.
He continued, “It is a different song when you take the drums, the bass, the guitar, and all the distortion out of the song and you bring it back to basics with just the vocal and a piano. It really focuses on the story. The song becomes quite haunting, quite personal, and it shows the power of that song because even in modern day it holds even truer now maybe than when it was written over 30 years ago.”
The music video highlights Smith and Myers’ intended message well, making a conscious effort to focus on the emotion and passion of the band’s delivery. Much of the video sees Smith and Myers in the studio working on the song, with clips of them exploring the greater Philly area interspersed throughout. Several cuts even show Myers in a dancing bear shirt, likely an ode to a prominent musical influence.
Check out the Smith & Myers “Rockin’ in the Free World” cover below.
Smith & Myers – “Rockin’ in the Free World”
[Video: Smith & Myers]
Both of Smith & Myers’ albums, Volume 1 and Volume 2, are available now, here. The albums feature a variety of originals as well as covers like Billie Eilish‘s “Bad Guy”, Peter Gabriel‘s “Sledgehammer”, Post Malone‘s “Better Now”, and Mark Ronson and Amy Whinehouse‘s “Valerie”. Additionally, a double album, 180-gram vinyl pressing is available for pre-order on the band’s merch store, due out November 13th.