Subscribe to our newsletter

(Credit: Conor Oberst)

Music

Revisit Conor Oberst's cover of Neil Young song 'Out on the Weekend'

@josephtaysom

Bright Eyes singer Conor Oberst is a masterful talent, and one that has solidified his specialist ability when it comes to covering other artists — as his heart-rending version of Neil Young’s ‘Out on the Weekend’ confirms.

Oberst, somewhat of a child prodigy, self-released his debut album Water when he was just 13. Throughout his teenage years, the singer performed with a variety of different bands and initially started Bright Eyes as a solo project in 1995 before it soon morphed into a group of its own and his main focus.

Bright Eyes ground it out on the underground circuit for years before finally catching nationwide attention in 2002 thanks to their breakthrough fourth album, Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground, which made people catch on to Oberst’s brilliance.

So far, the band have released ten albums in total, most recently returning in 2020 after a nine-year hiatus with Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was.

Oberst makes music for nobody else but himself and, Outside of Bright Eyes, he had various side projects, including most notably Better Oblivion Community Center with Phoebe Bridgers. His attitude towards creativity isn’t dissimilar to that of Neil Young, and he’s an artist that Oberst has gone on record to describe as an inspiration.

Neil Young on why punk was “so good and healthy”

Read More

In 2014, he told Drowned in Sound: “Totally, in that to me I always get a lot of inspiration out of new collaborations and working with different people. Neil Young’s a good example of someone I look up to that has had a long career and has made a bunch of different records – I can’t say I’m a fan of all of his records.”

Oberst continued: “I think that’s the best way to be if you’re going to be an artist. I think one of the more dangerous places to be as an artist is if you start to believe that you know what your audience wants and then you start to want to provide that for them, and I think then you just start to make really terrible music.

“For me it’s always been that I don’t preconceive too much, I just follow my impulses at the time and things are often at times a reaction to other records I’ve just made. I also have a bad personality trait in the sense that if I do something that people like, I tend to want never do it again or do something totally different.”

On Bright Eyes’ 2003 EP There Is No Beginning to the Story, Oberst paid tribute to his hero with a spellbinding cover of ‘Out on the Weekend’. However, the track was only featured on the vinyl edition of the release and remains a hidden gem in their repertoire, which only hardcore fans will be aware of its magnificence.

Listen to Oberst’s moving tribute to Young below.