Since Soul Coughing disbanded a dozen years back, lead singer Mike Doughty has built a healthy career playing a brand of folk just barely reminiscent of the uniquely oddball, buzz-and-beep, stream-of-consciousness sound of the band that brought him into the public’s ear.
And largely, according to his blog, his post-Coughing success has been driven by cheap tours, where he drives a van around the country with a guitar and a catalogue of solo material that includes a healthy heaping of surprising covers. Perhaps most notable is a partial cover of Mary J. Blige’s “Real Love,” which appeared on his first solo release, “Skittish,” an album that was such a departure in sound he was dropped by Warner Bros.
2012 was perhaps the singer-songwriter’s most prolific year. He released “The Question Jar Show,” a two-disc album of live tracks, in January. He then got all innovative and released a subscription-based album between April and November where fans signed up to receive one song per week for 28 weeks. Finally, on Nov. 6, fans were treated to an album of covers, “Flip is Another Honey.” Previously, covers were mostly reserved for live shows, only finding their way on hard drives via bootleggers.
Staying true to the surprise element of live covers, he included two John Denver tracks. There’s a fairly straight-forward version of “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” which features occasional collaborator Rosanne Cash, as well as “Sunshine,” which has original rapped verses with samples of Denver’s “Sunshine on My Shoulder.”
Today, he released the video for “Country Roads.” There’s only a bit of irony and a lot of playfulness with the song’s subject matter.
Josh Johnson is a Denver freelance writer and Reverb contributor, including author of the “Steal This Track” column. He is also a co-host/co-producer of the Denver podcast Denver Diatribe.