Cover songs have played a role in Midland’s shows for some time, allowing the band – whose sole album, On the Rocks, tops out around 45 minutes – to stretch each setlist to the length of a proper headlining gig.
This week, the guys shine a light on their cover-heavy catalog with a reimagined version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Tougher Than the Rest.” Released as the B-side to a live, Spotify-only recording of “Burn Out,” the new recording puts an organic spin on Springsteen’s Reagan-era roots rocker. Piled high with electric guitars, reverb and the band’s triple-stacked harmonies, “Tougher Than the Rest” highlights not only Midland’s strength as a live act, but the range of their influences, too.
In a short reel of studio footage uploaded to Facebook, the bandmates track the song at Sound Stage Studios in Nashville. Joining them are several A-list sidemen, including Laur Joamets – former lead guitarist for Sturgill Simpson and current member of Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ – and former Deer Tick member Robbie Crowell.
Less than a month after performing “Tougher Than the Rest” – among a handful of other country and Southern-rock classics – at Bonnaroo, Midland continue to crisscross the country on tour, with festival performances lined up throughout the summer.