By

Listen to Philly music critic Elliott Sharp sing “Rain King” by Counting Crows (playing XPoNential Music Festival on Sunday)

If you’re a Twitter follower of Philadelphia music scribe Elliott Sharp – who covers everything from hip-hop to heavy metal for Philadelphia Weekly, The Metro and Magnet Magazine – you know he’s an incisive, analytical and often very irreverent dude. So when I notice his periodic Tweets about dropping “an archival recording” of him performing “Rain King” from Counting Crows‘ 1993 debut August and Everything After…well, I’ve got to wonder if he’s serious or not. Earlier this week, the Crows cover came up again in my timeline, when Sharp tweeted “If I don’t lose any followers today before 6pm” the track was being released. I couldn’t tell if this was a clever means of means of weeding down his Twitter list, or an honest attempt at maintaining it, but had to ask…is this for real? And can I hear it? Sharp was quick to respond with an mp3 and some explanation.

This was recorded in Fredericksburg, Virginia in 2008. It’s the first take of me singing and playing acoustic guitar. My friend James — who I record with under the name Abandoned Ships — sings backup vocals at the choruses. And, for the record, I think that the Counting Crows album August & Everything After is one of the best albums ever made.

He’ll get no arguments from me on that one. And really, it’s a pretty decent rendition. Way better than I ever could have done, for certain. And while we are sad to report that Sharp, to our knowledge, will not be joining Counting Crows onstage for their XPoNential Music Festival appearance on Sunday, maybe his recording (which you can hear below) will get us all psyched for the massive singalong that is bound to ensue. Counting Crows plays the Susquehanna Bank Center on Sunday July 22 at 8 p.m. Tickets are still available at the XPoNential Music Festival box office.