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Josh Caterer - The Hideout Sessions (Pravda)

9 July 2021

In October 2020, Josh Caterer, best known as the lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist for the incredible Smoking Popes, and aided by his band, went into the Chicago club The Hideout (which had been closed since the start of the pandemic in March 2020) and played an audience-free (by necessity) concert that was recorded for this excellent live album. Included are crack versions of Popes classics like the MTV hit “Need You Around” and “Megan” alongside covers of American songbook classics like “My Funny Valentine”(perhaps inspired by Elvis Costello‘s version?) and The Flamingos’ “I Only Have Eyes for You.” He even tackles “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face” (made famous by Roberta Flack), further showing his fearlessness and how well he can adapt others’ material to his own unique style. Whereas most live albums just regurgitate an artist’s hits and are not usually well-recorded, this one by contrast does everything right. By combining familiar material with left-field covers of songs only someone with the vocal chops and sheer brass balls that Caterer has can do well, he’s created something well worth hearing and not just for obsessive Popes fans.