Premiere: Los Coast Debuts Video For Cover of Gillian Welch’s “Elvis Presley Blues” | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Monday, March 8th, 2021  

Premiere: Los Coast Debuts Video For Cover of Gillian Welch’s “Elvis Presley Blues”

The new track is out now via New West Records

Feb 22, 2021 Photography by Trey Walker
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Austin, Texas-based band Los Coast have already cultivated a reputation as an explosive live band and inventive songwriters. The band first debuted with their 2019 record Samsara, exploring a frantic mix of soul, psych, garage rock, funk, pop, and just about everything in between. Since then the band was mostly silent through 2020, with the exception of a beautiful cover of “A Change Is Gonna Come” with Gary Clark Jr. and a slow-burning cover of Gillian Welch’s “Elvis Presley Blues.” The band have now returned with a music video for the latter track, premiering with Under the Radar. 

Whereas the Gillian Welch original doesn’t stray too far from her pastoral folk sound, Los Coast injects a degree of bluesy hardscrabble grit and soulful drama into the song. Frontman Trey Privott’s vocals yelp and howl, backed by keening slide guitar and rich horn lines recasting the song as a ‘60s soul number. The decision to reinterpret the track also adds some new dimension to the lyrics reflecting on Elvis’ legacy, making even more explicit the fraught history of Elvis’ music in the black community. The video for the track, directed by Joseph Berger, explores even deeper into those themes as Pivott’s character is nearly drowned by cult-like figures. 

Privott says of the track, "We chose to record this song as a statement on what we perceived to be many artists' relationship with fame. I started really listening to Elvis's music during a time when I was working in record stores in my early 20's. Although a top-tier musician, Elvis battled many demons that ultimately led to his death.” 

“Gillian Welch (who wrote the song) also does an incredible job of highlighting Elvis' complicated relationship with the black community. She mentions this in her reference to John Henry battling a steam engine. I remember the first time I heard Gillian's version, I was floored. It was like it was calling out to me. I sat down and learned how to play it a few days after. Our video was an attempt to further explore that meaning behind the song." Check out the song and video below. 


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