DUTC#9 March 5, 2023

This week, I am again focusing on one group, the second that was featured in DUTC#5 along with Postmodern Jukebox, Walk off the Earth (WOTE). The band hails from Burlington, Ontario and formed in 2006. They have had several members over the years (including one Mike “Beard Guy” Taylor who unfortunately passed away in 2018), but the current lineup includes: Gianni “Luminati” Nicassio (vocals, bass, guitar, ukulele, drums, percussion, banjo, mandolin, cello, glockenspiel, kalimba, harmonica, keyboards, double bass), Sarah Blackwood (vocals, ukulele, guitar, percussion, glockenspiel, keyboards, bass, mandolin, 2011– present), Joel Cassady (drums, percussion, vocals, ukulele, keyboards, guitar, bass, kalimba, sampler, 2011–present), and David “Tokyo” Speirs (percussion, trumpet, flute, drums, bass, touring musician 2016–2020, full band member 2020–present). Touring musicians include Lee Williamson (guitar, banjo, bass, mandolin, ukulele), Zach Gerber (drums, guitar, bass, vocals, percussion), and Adam Michael (guitar, keyboards, bass. Gianni Nicassio and Sarah Blackwood are married and have two children, who have recently been featured performing in their videos!

I will go out on a limb here and say that WOTE may not be to everyone’s taste. One could argue that their videos are somewhat “kitschy,” or too over the top even gimmicky, and you would not necessarily be wrong. However, one of the main reasons that I absolutely love what they do is because I have never, ever seen a group of musicians having so much unbridled and uninhibited fun playing music, as well as making their covers of popular songs uniquely their own. For the sake of comparison, WOTE is to music what Jerry Lewis was to comedy – “slapstick” instead of “cerebral” like Jerry Seinfeld; WOTE is like a kid coloring outside the lines. Their music is in a way “Vaudevillian,” in the best sense of what that era of entertainment offered: It is pure love and joy! As always, this is my humble opinion and you, after watching, will make up your own minds as to what you are witnessing.

It wasn’t until 2012’s live cover of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” went viral on YouTube, with over 175 million views in a mere four months, that the band started to get the recognition they truly deserved. Even Gotye and his co-singer Kimbra gave the cover two thumbs up. This live performance was followed by a video of the song with all five members at the time playing one guitar! While I am not featuring that song below, it is well worth checking out.

When I started this blog, I vowed that I wouldn’t repeat songs, and here I go about to break that vow, but for a good reason. My post from Feb. 5th featured both PMJ and WOTE, and I wrote then that I would, at some point in the future, feature both groups. One of the covers that I focused on was PMJ’s rendition of Outkast’s “Hey Ya,” and as it turns out WOTE has covered that song as well. While I like both covers of the original, WOTE definitely takes theirs to the next level! Did I mention singing puppets?  One last thing. If you do find the visuals a bit too much for your taste, just close your eyes and listen, because the musicianship and harmonies are second to none! Enjoy.

Walk Off The Earth

WOTE – “Hey Ya” (Outkast cover) – Oct.2017


Outkast was an American hip hop duo formed in 1992 in Atlanta, Georgia by rappers André “3000” Benjamin (formerly known as Dré) and Antwan “Big Boi” Patton. They formed while they were still in high school in 1994. They had moderate success, but then hit it big with their 2003 release of the double album “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below,” their only album to debut at No.1 on the “Billboard 200.” The album featured two number one singles, “Hey Ya,” and “The Way You Move.” The album won a Grammy Award for Album of the Year.

Outkast – “Hey Ya!” Official HD Video, Oct.25, 2009

Walk Off The Earth

WOTE – “Someone Like You” – (Adele Cover) – Apr.2011


Adele Laurie Blue Adkins was born in England in 1988, and is known simply as Adele, following in the footsteps, so to speak, of other famed one-named divas like Cher, Sade, Fergie, Beyonce, Madonna, Pink, Rhianna, to name but a few. She is a singer and songwriter who released her first album,19, in 2008. Her second release, 2011’s 21, became the world’s best-selling album of the 21st century, with sales of over 31 million copies. Not only was it certified 18x platinum in the U.K (the highest by a solo artist of all time), in the U.S., according to Billboard Magazine 21 is the top-performing album in the US chart history. The success of 21 earned Adele numerous mentions in the Guinness Book of Records. Rolling Stone magazine placed her album 21 in their listing of “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” (2020).

Adele – Someone Like You (Official Music Video) – 2011

Walk Off The Earth

WOTE – “Havana” – (Camila Cabello with Young Thug cover) – Dec. 2017

Camila Cabello & Young Thug

Karla Camila Cabello Estrabao, born in March 1997, is a Cuban-born American singer and songwriter. She rose to prominence as a member of the girl group Fifth Harmony, which became one of the best-selling girl groups of all time. While in the group, she started to establish herself with various releases and collaborations “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” with Shawn Mendes, and “Bad Things” with Machine Gun Kelly. She finally left the group in 2016 and gained popularity and success as a solo performer. “Havana,” is another collaboration, this time with Young Thug. The success of this single delayed the album’s release date, and went on to reach number one in Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Hungry, and the United States. The song became Spotify’s most-streamed song ever by a solo female artist in June 2018, with over 888 million streams at the time.

Jeffery Lamar Williams, born August 1991, known professionally as Young Thug, is an American rapper, singer, and songwriter. Many view him to be an influential figure of his generation, with much of his music having a great impact on the modern sound of hip hop and trap music. He is widely known for eccentric vocal style and his fashion.

Camila Cabello with Young Thug – “Havana” – 2017

Walk Off The Earth

WOTE – “Old Town Road” – (Lil Nas X Featuring Billy Ray Cyrus cover), using Schulmerich Bells and household items! – April 2019

Lil Nas X & Billy Ray Cyrus

Montero Lamar Hill, born April 1999, is known by his stage name Lil Nas X. He is an American rapper, singer, and songwriter. He rose to prominence with the release of his country rap (it’s not a typo!) single “Old Town Road,” which achieved viral popularity in early 2019 before climbing the charts internationally. The song spent 19 weeks atop the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming the longest running number-one single since the chart debuted in 1958. There were several remixes of the song released, the most popular pf which featured country singer Billy Ray Cyrus.

Billy Ray Cyrus, born August 1961, is an American country singer and actor. He has released 16 studio albums and 53 singles since 1992 and is known for his hit single “Achy Breaky Heart,” which topped the U.S Hot Country Songs chart. As a result of the song’s music video, the “line dance” rose in popularity.

Lil Nas X – Old Town Road (Official Video) ft. Billy Ray Cyrus 2019

Los Angeles 2023

5 thoughts on “DUTC#9 March 5, 2023

  1. Well now, what a thoroughly charming, attractive and talented group of musicians, making superb covers and delightful videos! I enjoyed them immensely, so thanks for sharing this. Now subscribed to their YouTube channel!

    Liked by 1 person

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