It is very easy to say who garnered the most posts on the old NeverMindTheBuzzkills: Matt “ortoPilot” Hutchison. But then the multi-instrumentalist from Manchester kind of cheated. What else do you call musical advent calendars with videos so good that you simply have to post them all? One great cover song after the other – which has been the not-so-secret ingredient in the ortoPilot YouTube channel since 2006.

My first ortoCover: Green Day’s Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life) from 2009. In December 2010 came the first musical advent calendar; a mix of Christmas tunes and non-Christmas themed songs (as varied as Pink Floyd’s Another Brick In The Wall and Sound Of The Underground by Girls Aloud (one of several videos with Kate McGill), Always On My Mind by Elvis and Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody).That first ortoAdvent ended with the only Christmas music video I’ll ever need. One I can listen to no matter the time of the year. Also, I don’t care what time of the year you are reading this. Yes, here are ortoPilot and friends with Merry Christmas Everyone:

After that first musical advent calendar followed another first, right here on NMTB: the first interview ortoPilot has ever given. That same (and first year for NMTB) there were a number of other ortoPilot video posts on this blog, like the collaboration with the ortoPilot Live Lounge winner Ebony Day (a cover of Jessie J’s Price Tag) or the amazing piano cover of Ed Sheeran’s The A Team. Then came the 2011 musical advent calendar, with each video getting its own post on NMTB, a tradition that continued in 2012, when ortoPilot repeated the insane act once more. It is difficult to name favourites here, especially since the visual quality of the videos made a big jump in this year. Handbags and Gladrags by Rod Stewart, another brilliant Ed Sheeran cover in the form of Lego House, ’74 – ’75 by The Connells, Too Close by Alex Clare – this is really just scratching the surface. Dive into the advent calendars and you are bound to find covers you love, many of which ortoPilot has done with collaborators (like Baz Walker, the ortoBrother on drums, Natalie Holmes, etc).

The unfortunate thing (in a way) is that ortoPilot is currently busying himself with more producing work, leaving the YouTube crowd wanting. The beautiful things is that, in addition to his original music, you can get a lot of those fantastic cover songs on iTunes and Soundcloud, so you’ll have your favourite ortoCovers on-the-go. At the time of writing, there are 15 cover EPs alone. Those should last you for a while. And they might have to. But then there is always a chance for the occasional return of ortoPilot to some YouTube cover action, like one of his last videos, which is also among his best. Imagine Dragons. Radioactive. Piano only. All ortoPilot.

And don’t let it be said that I am only concentrating on the covers here. I might not be a fan of all of the man’s original songs – but then I am hardly a fan of all original songs of any artist – but he does have some good tunes of his own. It’s just that, with such a wealth of amazing cover music, the originals tend to be a little in the shadow of their cover brothers (and sisters). But let me give you one of those, too. Up & Down, a free tune from the 2012 advent calendar. Shot in the back of a car with an open boot door:


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