Jasper Jams: Simple Strings, Acoustic Tracks

A&E Jasper Jams Logo

This week’s Jasper Jams is inspired by the recent Quadstock set by Boys Like Girls. No, this is not a playlist of your favorite songs from middle school. Instead, we will look at tracks that are acoustic—either originally or in the form of covers by other artists. By definition, acoustic songs do not utilize any electronic instruments in their production. While there is nothing wrong with the power and diversity of sound that comes with electronics, acoustic songs allow us to see a different side of music. This list is just a sampling of some acoustic jams and is by no means exhaustive or complete.

1) “XO” by John Mayer

John Mayer gives a whole new sound to one of the hit singles from Beyoncé’s visual album. At roughly the same tempo but without the backing drums and fireworks, his version is easily recognizable. While it may be blasphemy to the loyal legions of Queen B, you just might like it more than the original.

2) “Angie” by The Rolling Stones

One of the most famous hits from The Stones and most recognizable acoustic songs ever recorded, “Angie” is a classic for sure.

3) “Breakdown” by Jack Johnson

It just might be illegal to have a playlist featuring acoustic artists and not include Jack Johnson.

4) “Cost of Livin’” by Ronnie Dunn

This track demonstrates the power of classical storytelling when accompanied with country guitar chords. Dunn tells the tale of a man looking for work in hard times to support his family. Simple and sad, but beautiful.

5) “Overkill” by Colin Hay

Colin Hay is the former frontman for the 80s Australian group Men At Work who later saw success with his own solo career. “Overkill” was a Men At Work song that received new life with this acoustic version. If you are a fan of the show “Scrubs,” you will immediately recognize Hay and this tune in particular.

6) “The House That Built Me” by Miranda Lambert

Lambert’s songs often pack a punch fitting to her fiery style. Here she offers listeners a more intimate side of her—trading in the bravado for subdued guitar-work that creates a touching track.

7) “Crazy In Love” by Daniela Andrade

Beyoncé songs were clearly just made for acoustic covers.

8) “Jolene” by Ray LaMontagne

While it shares the same name as a famous Dolly Parton track that has been covered countless times, this “Jolene” stands alone by its own merit. LaMontagne has a haunting voice with understated depth perfectly suited for his singer-songwriter style.

9) “Royals” by Craig Campbell

Craig Campbell performed a set before Kellie Pickler came onstage. Photo by James O'Connor.
Craig Campbell performed a set before Kellie Pickler came onstage at last year’s Jasper Days. Photo by James O’Connor.

If you were one of the few students who showed up to last year’s concert at the first ever Jasper Days, you were treated to this gem from Campbell. He easily stole the show with his country-esque cover of megahit “Royals” by Lorde.

Note: This week’s Spotify playlist has several bonus acoustic tracks that are found exclusively on the web. Enjoy!