Along with seven hours of big cat intrigue, alleged murder, accidental shootings, and unsolved arson, Netflix’s docuseries Tiger King has gifted us with some outrageously cheesy country songs, all sung (or at least performed) by zookeeping country wannabe Joe Exotic. “Here Kitty Kitty” is a swampy murder ballad and “My First Love” is a heartfelt same-sex love song. But it’s “I Saw a Tiger” that has wormed its way into our hearts — and into the hearts and minds of country artists too.
On Friday, the group Midland released their own cover version, recorded with its core members — singer Mark Wystrach, guitarist Jess Carson, and bassist Cameron Duddy — all in quarantine. The trio and band members Luke Cutchen (guitar), Robbie Crowell (drums), Phillip Sterk (steel), and Jeff Adamcyzk (keys) cut their parts remotely and pieced it all together for a trippy video complete with a stuffed tiger cameo. In short, it’s gggrrreat.
Wystrach is at his affected best, drawling out “Tell all the hunters, to lay down their guns/tell ’em that the tigers need a little bit of love.” Over-the-top in all the right ways, he gestures with closed fists and pouting countenance, offering an albeit confined performance that would make Joe Exotic himself proud. Duddy, on mandolin, and Carson on acoustic guitar and wearing wraparound shades, offer backing harmonies.
Tiger King, a big-cats-meets-crime viral hit, is currently streaming on Netflix. Earlier this week American Aquarium frontman BJ Barham offered his own version of “I Saw a Tiger.”
On the more serious end of the artistic spectrum, Midland released a lyric video for their single “Cheatin’ Songs,” off their latest album Let It Roll, early Friday morning.