Stuff I Like That’s Good
— Day 8 —
Michael Henry & Justin Robinett
Or, how two unlikely musicians brought covers back.
With one week of Stuff I Like That’s Good under my belt, I’m going back to the theme I began on Day Four (seriously, go read that entry). So for the next four days, I’m bringing you things from outside the zeitgeist that are good and very much worth your time.
First up, Michael Henry & Justin Robinett.
Michael Henry and Justin Robinett are two Texas musicians with a strong mastery at covering today’s popular music.
The duo, known collectively as MHJR, got their start in 2009 (I’m about 110% sure now that 2009 was an IT year for Stuff I Like) by posting a video of them tackling a cover of Mayday Parade’s “Three Cheers For Five Years.”
The first thing you’ll notice about MHJR is their natural ability to harmonize. Their 2011 cover of Bruno Mars’ “Grenade” is a fine example of this:
From there onward they continued to evolve. Just seven months later, they churned out the cover that would put them on the internet map: The Band Perry’s “If I Die Young.”
And three months after that, they produced one of the greatest covers in their repertoire:
Their take on David Guetta and Usher’s “Without You” is not only better than the original, but they skillfully turned a dance song into a soulful piano ballad without making the song feel downscaled. That alone requires genius level talent, but the addition of dueling pianos and a drum track added a welcome element of layering to their cover style.
Their rendition of “Without You” was followed up by a cover of NSYNC’s “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays,” which continued this new trend of improving on the songs they cover.
Jumping forward to the end of 2012, they began covering Disney songs, giving the world a better cover of Phil Collins’ “Trashin’ The Camp” than Phil Collins’ own cover of “Trashin’ The Camp.”
And by 2013, they were gracing our ears with a percussion enhanced cover of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.”
Since 2014, as Michael and Justin completed college and moved into new professions, MHJR has been on an extended hiatus.
But in the meantime, as Justin Robinett moves into a solo music career, the covers have continued to flow, beginning with a functionally better rendition of Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive.”
And most recently following up with a cover of All Sons and Daughters’ Christian worship song, “Brokenness Aside.”
So if you like good music and good musical covers, give MHJR and Justin Robinett a try. I guarantee you won’t regret it. ESPECIALLY when the MHJR hiatus finally ends.
Michael Henry & Justin Robinett. They’re musicians I like, and they are good. Check them out sometime.