2016 was a rough year for the entertainment industry, with the loss of so many incredible people. A number of musicians that made huge impacts to modern music passed away, as well. Singer Gregg Stewart recently came out with a cover album called Twenty Sixteen, a tribute to all of the wonderful talent we lost. The album includes the single “Starman,” which was originally performed by David Bowie.
Bowie died in January of 2016 after a long battle with cancer, just two days after his birthday and the release of his final album, Blackstar. His music meant so much to many people, and countless artists found inspiration in his distinct sound. Stewart remains true to the original song, not altering the melody too much. He does the song justice, while not trying to outdo Ziggy Stardust.
Stewart knows his way around the music industry after a long history of working in it. He’s played in a number of bands and works as a producer. His latest band, Stewboss, was a great success. They released five full albums and toured Europe seven times over. Stewart also is a composer for film and TV, and a writer for other artists. His music has gotten air play in many countries, and some of his other songs have been seen in film and TV.
“Starman” is already a wonderful song, and Stewart does it justice without going overboard. It’s hard to really cover a song by such an influential artist and not ruin it, but Stewart does it well. The song is softer, with a greater focus on the acoustic guitar. The otherworldly quality that Bowie brought to the song isn’t present. It feels like the song is slower. Stewart’s voice is soft and brings in a nice quality- one that brings his own essence to the song that works really well.
I won’t lie, hearing the song really tugged at my heart (I might have cried). Like so many others, Bowie was a very important presence in my life, especially my teen years. Hearing this respectful and well-done cover really got to me, especially since I’d been avoiding listening to that song for over a year now. To compare the two, I had to listen to the original, which was when the waterworks went into overdrive. Not that I’m complaining, of course. Avoidance isn’t the best course of action, and I started to feel better pretty soon afterwards. It was like ripping off a band-aid, in a sense.
If the rest of the tracks are as well done as “Starman” was, I would suggest that everyone listen to Twenty Sixteen. Stewart’s voice alone is good enough that most people would enjoy it, not to mention the fact that it’s a respectful tribute to some of the best artists in the industry. It might make you a bit emotional, like it did me, but I think it’s worth that. I’ll be checking out Gregg Stewart’s other work and familiarizing myself with him after this. Overall, I highly recommend that you give his cover of “Starman” a try.