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Darren Watson Covers Chris Knox's 'Not Given Lightly' For NZ Music Month

Darren Watson Covers Chris Knox's 'Not Given Lightly' For NZ Music Month

C.C. / Monday 11th May, 2020 3:30PM

Pōneke bluesman Darren Watson (Chicago Smoke Shop) hasn't allowed Aotearoa's lockdown to stop him in his tracks. Over the past few weeks Watson has unveiled both the title track to his prophetically titled seventh solo album Getting Sober for the End of the World and a cover of Netherworld Dancing Toys' 1985 single 'For Today' in support of Cancer Society NZ, and now today he shares a heartfelt reimagining of DIY legend Chris Knox's loved-up classic 'Not Given Lightly'. Watson's cover is part of a ongoing series of renditions of timeless Aotearoa tunes released for NZ Music Month, take in the singer / guitarist's aptly home-recorded take on 'Not Given Lightly' here and scroll downwards to discover what he's been up to...

What drew you towards covering 'Given Lightly' by Chris Knox?

Well, it’s a bit of an outlier in the Knox catalog I reckon and I always got the feeling he kind of wished it would go away a bit. But the bones of that song are classic do-wop or even soul changes. I actually covered another of his songs on my first album post-Smoke Shop. But we keep that album tied up in the attic and never talk about it. Hahaha

You've recently released the title track to your next album Getting Sober for the End of the World – talk about a prophetic title!

Yeah, spooky huh? LOL. I wrote that song a while back and I was more thinking of the kind of planet we are leaving my grandkids. And I’ve cleaned my act up a bit etc... so there ya go.

You've had live events cancelled due to the Level 4 lockdown, do you anticipate any tour plans for your record? When is it releasing?

Yeah I was planning on having the album out and touring in June. Lost gigs and a couple of festivals that were in the book and a couple that were close to signing.

Realistically it will now be late 2020 or even early 2021. I’m not complaining – everyone is in the same boat.

You released a cover of Netherworld Dancing Toys' 'For Today' last week, with all proceeds of sales going to Cancer Society New Zealand. What motivated you to release that song now?

Well Malcolm Black’s widow Julia got in touch and told me how much she was enjoying the cover (which I made for fun really) and she said I should release it sometime. Then recently I thought how cool it would be to raise some dollars for Cancer Society NZ by releasing my version near the anniversary of his passing. Just heard today it is #15 on the NZ Hot 20 Singles Chart. Raised about $300 for Cancer Society NZ so that’s cool!

What has your day to day lifestyle been like during lockdown?

Well loss of gigs aside very much like it was before. I teach about 10-20 students a week – obviously now it’s all via Skype or Zoom. And I write and record. Got a couple of more tunes to get tracking done for the album but that needs to wait for level 1 ‘cause I’m in several high-risk groups for catching the dreaded and we like to record live in the room. About 70% of my income has been from lessons for sometime.


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