Carson McKee and Joshua Lee Turner, otherwise known as The Other Favorites, are singer-songwriters based in Brooklyn, New York and are in my opinion two of the best YouTube musicians out there. They are both proficient guitarists and vocalists and their chemistry is astounding. Individually and together Carson and Josh have undertaken many musical endeavours outside the world of YouTube, but their YouTube channels, with over 600,000 subscribers and 135 million views combined, seem to be their main focus. I love watching covers of my favourite songs and artists on YouTube, so it was only going to be a matter of time before I discovered the treasure chest of fantastic covers from McKee and Turner. Here are my five favourites:
5. Sweet Baby James (James Taylor)
This is the first video I watched from Josh and Carson – about a year ago now – and I have to say I was instantly hooked. I couldn’t believe just how similar Josh in particular sounded to Taylor! The guitar playing is spot on, the harmonies from Carson are perfect, and the outdoor setting is very fitting with the mood of the song.
4. Rider (The Grateful Dead)
I only watched this cover for the first time recently but it’s a fantastic take on a song I’m not actually too familiar with (and having since listened I actually prefer this to the original – sorry Grateful Dead fans). One thing I love about these two guys is their diversity – they can transition so well from one genre to another and in this instance they nail the bluegrass sound. They also look like they’re having a lot of fun with this one, which is always a bonus!
3. Bare Necessities (The Jungle Book)
This cover suits Carson and Josh’s guitar playing style and vocals perfectly. the upbeat, laid back muted guitar and the groove are killer, but the highlight of the video for me is the ‘predictably killer’ solo from Josh. Stunning and very in keeping with the mood of the classic Jungle Book song.
2. Mamma Mia (ABBA)
I bet Josh and Carson, as well as viewers, wouldn’t have guessed that a banjo and an ABBA song mixed together would work….but it absolutely does! I love this cover – it’s so clever, probably one of the more difficult covers from this list (which is made apparent when Josh says take 5 at the start…) but it also really shows what great songwriters ABBA were. Again, I prefer this to the original and had it on repeat when it was posted.
1. 風をあつめて/Gather The Wind (Happy End)
For me this is the clear winner – I’d never heard Gather The Wind (nor Happy End for that matter) before coming across this cover, but it’s a fantastic song and this is a fantastic rendition. This cover is very similar in sound to the original but with refreshed production and brilliant Turner/McKee harmonies. I’m also super impressed that they sound so natural singing in Japanese – having read through some of the comments their pronunciation seems to have been approved by native speakers too!
As well as performing together, Carson and Josh both release solo music and covers on their own too – I would strongly suggest checking out their YouTube channels: Josh (https://www.youtube.com/c/JoshTurnerGuitar/featured) and Carson (https://www.youtube.com/c/carsonmckeemusic/featured).
Credits: All five YouTube videos posted in this article are from either Joshua Lee Tuner or Carson McKee’s YouTube channels, and are licenced to YouTube by Studio71_2_5 (on behalf of The Other Favorties).