Maybe it's the hypnotic guitar riffs. Maybe it's that the track exudes a completely different vibe from the original. Maybe it's because we aren’t subject to the cringe-worthy sounds of amateurs seeking to imitate the unmistakable sound of The Master. Whatever the reasoning behind the allure, there’s no denying that guitarist Rod Harris, Jr. and SoulBounce fave, singer/songwriter/trombonist Saunders Sermons, nailed their interpretation of Prince's 1984 hit “When Doves Cry.” With the attention to detail and the preservation of musical elements most critical to the classic that even the most dedicated fan, and maybe even Prince himself, would approve of, Harris and Sermons' version is magnetic and soothing.
Whether it's due to his passing or the abundance of really bad tributes we've been subjected to, it seems artists are more courageous than ever when it comes to covering the classics from His Purple Highness' catalog, and we have become skeptical and, quite frankly, protective of his legacy. Here, however, we slowly relax our side eye and drop our folded arms to acknowledge the true genius found in this cover. Replacing the intensity of the electric guitar to convey all the emotion in the track, Harris instead utilizes keys, drums and rhythm guitar to set a more jazzy, laid-back tone. Harris shows us that the best way to approach to a classic is to completely repackage it while maintaining the fundamentals that made the original so great. With the masterful guitar and synth placement maintaining the vibe of the original and gorgeous piano melodies smoothing it all out, admittedly, we are left craving for more.
Equally as captivating are the vocals put down by Sermons. His voice is seductive and almost as intoxicating as the instrumentation, as he sings the lyrics we all know so well. Still, his delivery is anything but predictable as he showcases a relaxed tone, laced with crystal clear falsetto. We especially like that he sings one of our favorites his way, without attempting to mimic Prince, and he does so flawlessly.
Listen to Rod Harris, Jr. and Saunders Sermons' version of “When Doves Cry” and judge for yourself. Although there are very few artists who are gifted enough to ever touch any song created by our dearly beloved Prince, we approve of and applaud this effort. If you agree, purchase Rod Harris, Jr.'s "When Doves Cry" featuring Saunders Sermons right now on Amazon, iTunes or Google Play.