Band of Heathens and Nashville singer-songwriter Zach Schmidt inadvertently paid tribute to the late Chuck Berry this weekend during SXSW, performing a rousing cover of “You Never Can Tell” at Austin’s Hotel Van Zandt on Friday night. The rock & roll icon died on Saturday, March 18th at 90.
“You Never Can Tell” – sometimes known as “C’est la Vie” – has seen its share of country covers, with Emmylou Harris, Chely Wright and Waylon Jennings all recording versions at over the years. The tune lets Austin-based Band of Heathens and guests play to their strengths, replacing Berry’s melodic leads with a dense, multiple guitar attack. Normally a solo artist, Schmidt joins the fun to joyfully howl his parts, giving space for the guitarists and keyboard player to add their own colorful solos through the closing notes.
Band of Heathens released their latest album Duende in January, which features singles “All I’m Asking” and “Green Grass of California.” Schmidt’s most recent album The Day We Lost the War came out in 2016.