Laith Al-Saadi, a front-runner all season, needed an instant save to make the finals alongside Alisan Porter, Adam Wakefield and Hannah Huston.
So he showed off his vocal and his guitar skills on a two-minute version of Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower.”
He wound up in the finals.
But because the performance was for an instant save, Laith’s version of “Watchtower” wasn’t recorded or released on iTunes.
Since then, Laith told Voice Views he’s received several requests to record it.
You might say he’s fulfilled those requests. And then some.
Laith just released a four-track 75th Birthday Tribute to Jimi Hendrix. And it includes a fabulous six-minute version of “Watchtower.”
“Ever since my passion for the electric guitar began at age 13, Jimi Hendrix has always been my one of my biggest influences,” Laith told Voice Views via email.
“He completely revolutionized the instrument and played with such soul and reckless abandon. He constantly pushed his own boundaries and, when his music was at its best, every note sounded like a discovery.”
If the requests for “Watchtower” made him consider a Hendrix tribute, learning that this year would have marked his 75th birthday “made the idea even cooler,” Laith said.
“So, here it is — warts and all — and I think we did a damn good job taking on some pretty challenging material.”
The EP marks Laith’s first major release since The Voice. If you’ve been eagerly awaiting original music from Laith, that’s in the works too. He told Voice Views he’s working on a full-length original album he hopes to have recorded by the end of the year.
Laith is also busy planning a 40th Birthday Bash performance at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor on Nov. 3.
And he’ll be in Pennsylvania later this month, playing an Oct. 19 show at Jergel’s in the Pittsburgh suburbs.