Personally, I love learning covers in my own unique way almost as much as writing, recording and playing my own music.

The main reason for this is that by me learning and deconstructing/reconstructing songs that I really connect with or, have proven to be popular with the public and have charted in some way, I learn how to write my own songs better through the experience.

Here are some ways I reckon that learning covers has helped my own songwriting process:

  • I learn different song formats, song structures and chord patterns.
  • I expose myself to singing different melodies, and lyrical ideas.
  • I spice up my guitar practice regimen.
  • I maintain my musical theory knowledge by learning a song by ear.
  • I get to know my favourite songwriters more by learning their songs.

For every song I learn, many other unique songwriting ideas will naturally bubble up to the surface for my own material later on.

I reckon the trick with playing covers is that you never do them like the original as much as you possibly can.

I know that if I’m in the audience and I hear someone do a cover in their own style, I get hooked into their version every single time (and I also get hooked into them too).

Now, some performing songwriters I know feel that playing covers is just selling out but, I respectfully don’t agree. I mean who is going to say that Jeff Buckley’s version of ‘Hallelujah’ by Leonard Cohen was a sell out on his part?

It’s one of the most beautiful performances of any song I have ever heard. It makes me cry every time I hear it.

Of course, your goal as a performing songwriter is to play your own songs as much as you can because there’s nothing more satisfying than people actually being touched, moved and inspired by what you are playing and singing that has come from inside you however, an amazing thing happens when you add the occasional cover song into your repertoire.

The audience becomes much closer to you.

I can’t tell you how many times a quiet gig became a much greater gig after I play a well chosen cover (in my own style of course). Every other song I play afterwards becomes music to their ears.

For me, the term “selling out” is generally used by people who wish they were in the same position as the other musicians they were commenting on. Jealousy rears up its ugly head in the music industry all the time.

If you keep focused on writing your own music and at the same time learn a few covers (at the very least for research purposes) to break up your songwriting process from time to time, you will have better gigs, become a more well rounded instrumentalist and (most importantly) you will be a real hit around the odd campfire or two 😉

At the end of the day, I believe playing covers affects your ability to write your own songs only if you allow it to.


Corey 🙂

My decision to sell up and move down to the Fleurieu a few months ago has given me some time to think about getting back into regular live performance again (whether it be with covers and/or originals) and how I would go about making it happen.

Part of me is pushing for this to happen because of the extra income stream that it will generate for myself but for the most part… I actually miss playing live now.

I know I have been talking about getting back on the live performance bike for a while now but it has only been very recently that the idea of playing live gigs has not repulsed me as it once did.

This is because I have found from personal experience (and from some pretty intense conversations from others) that the music scene and the audiences “down South” are better to play to, are much more attentive and there’s a lot more venues that are willing to take a punt with putting live music into their mix.

How many of these venues are booking directly rather than using agents are yet to be seen but the music scene on the Fleurieu is like uncharted waters, a voyage of discovery for me and THAT is the exciting part.

I’m sure that there are venues out there just waiting for someone different to come along and add their unique flavour and vibe to the music scene down there.

Of course, I’ll still be going to Adelaide for gigs but I’ll not be making the same mistake as before of trying to play anywhere and everywhere for everyone, preferring to hang down south a bit more and keep to my areas of choice.

In preparation for this, I’ve just recently put up my bio on the site as well as a downloadable PDF that can be used for future reference. I also have links to my Online Acoustic Demo on SoundCloud as well as links to my Seeing Stars CD

All I’ve got to do now is start shopping myself around again, getting myself acquainted with who and what is out there, the venues, the bookers, the agents and the businesses that can make my goal of getting back to regular live performance a reality.

If any of you know of any live performance opportunities that I should seriously have a look at then hit me up and let’s chat about it.

In the meantime, have a great week.


Corey 🙂

One can never accuse me of sitting still when it comes to performing live and even though I had taken an extended break from regular gigging, I have always kept my ear to the ground and left myself open to any music opportunity that comes my way.

So, when my good friend Geoffrey Stapleton approached me to put together a band that would play selected covers from the “Great Australian Songbook” interspersed with our own material which will eventually become the main part of the repertoire over time, I immediately said a big YES!

I introduce to you all… The New Normals.

The New Normals consist of the following members:

  • Corey Stewart – Bass, Vocals
  • Geoffrey Stapleton – Keyboards, Guitar, Percussion, Vocals
  • Darren Zaza – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
  • Dave Branton – Drums, Percussion

Besides the fact that we’re going to be playing our own material live starting off at 50% covers to original ratio and working our way to a 100% self penned repertoire, the band gives me an opportunity to play bass in a live context again, something that I haven’t done in a long while.

I’m really missing it.

I know I’ve said this before but I consider myself a “bass player by trade” and while I love playing guitar on stage (especially in the context of a soloist) there is something magical to me about singing and playing bass at the same time. Moving the gig forward through voice while locking into the groove at the same time.

I love it.

Our first ever gig as The New Normals will be at Wassail Wine Bar (95 Prospect Road, Prospect) on Sunday, October 24th starting at 3:30pm.

The goal with The New Normals is to have a regular and consistently promoted monthly gig at Wassail and build up the audience by having them come to us, rather than spread the band and the resources too thinly trying to play anywhere and everywhere.

I’m very interested in seeing if this experiment works and get people lining up outside the venue. That would be lovely.