There are covers that are thought to be better than the original. Take, for example, Johnny Cash's version of “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails, or Jeff Buckley's rendition of “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. They are in the realm of famous singers covering equally well-known composers. But there are some musicians, who, despite their perceived obscurity, have performed versions of classic songs that rival the original recording. This is the case of Mike Massé and Jeff Hall, two musicians who have developed a loyal following thanks to their covers.
Although Massé and Hall's most famous covers were originally posted to YouTube over 10 years ago, their display of talent routinely gets spun around social media every once in a while. For example, their 2010 rendition of Toto's “Africa” was recently shared on Reddit. There, it earned over 16,000 upvotes as users praised their harmonies and their vibrant delivery of the song.
Overall, their most famous and applauded cover is that of Simon and Garfunkel's “The Sound of Silence.” Relying on the strength of their harmonies rather than building toward something innovative, Massé and Hall deliver a version with an extra layer of rawness and sensitivity. The same can be said of their versions of “Rocket Man” by Elton John and “The Scientist” by Coldplay, where Hall takes more of a backing-vocals role.
One of the most interesting—and perhaps perplexing—elements of their powerful recordings is that they were performed at a local pizzeria in South Jordan, Utah, to a handful of customers. Aware of their need to share their talent with the world, Massé has uploaded more covers to YouTube and posted over 80 audio recordings to Spotify with Hall and other collaborators.
While the covers that caught wind online are much older, Massé has recorded newer pieces to further prove his talent of tackling any classic song and giving it his personal touch. You can follow him on Spotify to stay up to date with his latest releases.