GUEST LIST: Civil Twilight Picks Their Favorite Acoustic Covers

by | Aug 5, 2016 | New Music and Video

Welcome to the first installment of Performer’s Guest List, where we invite indie artists to select their favorite tracks in a given category. This week, Civil Twilight takes us through their favorite acoustic covers. Want to participate? Email [email protected] for details.


Civil Twilight is a band of brothers and friends originally from Cape Town, South Africa. “We grew up together playing in garages, churches and friends backyards before moving to the US to pursue our dream of performing on the world’s biggest stage” says Richard Wouters, their drummer. We asked Richard to share a selection of his favorite acoustic covers with us. Here they are in his own words:

“Hurt” by Johnny Cash
(Original song by Nine Inch Nails)

This is one of the more powerful pieces of music I’ve ever heard, period. It still brings tears to my eyes. It’s pretty incredible how Johnny literally adopted this song as his own and put a lifetime of emotion and remorse into the performance. So moving and profound. It cuts right to the core.

“Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley
(Original by Lenard Cohen)

In all great covers the artist is able to own the song in a way that is deeply personal. This is a great example of that. The raw emotion is palpable and the honesty and longing in the vocal cuts through the poetic lyric and grabs a hold of your heart.

“The Man Who Sold The World” by Nirvana
(Original by David Bowie)

I grew up a Nirvana fan and this song always stood out to me from the Unplugged in New York album. It’s a great song, and I love Kurt Cobain’s punk rock approach to music. No frills or tricks, just stripped down and bare. He always exposed himself in his songs and this performance is no exception. Even though he didn’t write the song it still feels vulnerable. I think that’s just who he was and how he performed. I love the guitar solo at the end.

“Lay Lady Lay” by Magnet (feat. Gemma Hayes)
(Original song by Bob Dylan)

This is a slightly nostalgic one for me. I heard this cover of this great Bob Dylan tune when I was a kid, before I even heard the original, and I loved it. When I did eventually hear the original, I liked this cover better! (Don’t tell Bob). It’s a really pretty melody that is enhanced by Magnet and Gemma Hayes’ pretty voices.

“Dancing With Myself” by Civil Twilight
(Original by Billy Idol)

We just released this cover of the classic Billy Idol song. I think it came out super well. Steve, our singer, has a gift for intimate ballads and for getting in touch with the true spirit and emotion of a song. I didn’t have much to do with the  recording of this one, but I love it. I think he did a great job.

Civil Twilight just released an unplugged rendition of their latest album Story of an Immigrant, which includes the Billy Idol cover mentioned above. You can find it on Apple Music as well as on your favorite streaming platform or online retailer.

They will be on tour in the US this fall with ‘Nothing but Thieves’ so look out for them in your city. You can find all their upcoming tour dates and more info on their website.