Some of the best folk music cover versions of Beatles songs that I have heard have been by female singers. Mary McCaslin and Shawn Colvin, for example, are two who found ways to foster new levels of appreciation for some of those classic tunes. But guys deserve a chance at those great songs as well, don’t they?

In honor of what would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday on Oct. 9, stalwarts Rex Fowler of Aztec Two-Step and Tom Dean of Devonsquare have joined forces to celebrate the music of the legendary singer/songwriter with a collection of their takes on his (mostly Beatles-era) songs.

Lennon occasionally revealed a hint of folk influence, nowhere more so than on two songs Dean and Fowler have felicitously combined. “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away/Norwegian Wood” is the representative cut for what is right about this project. Lovely vocal harmonies, including an important contribution from Alana MacDonald, and some tasty 12-string guitar work from Dean lift this medley to a higher level.

Fowler, Dean and their various accompanists are of a school of folk that naturally gravitates toward that peaceful, easy feeling in music. That certainly describes one side of Lennon’s best work. But there’s something more there that they start to get at on some of the edgier tunes.

“A Day in the Life/Across the Universe” successfully approaches both the dreamlike intimacy and the cosmic transcendence of the originals. “Come Together/I Am the Walrus” also works well in an arrangement which surrounds some of Lennon’s most inventive lyrics with the sounds of dobro and mandolin.

Backed by classical guitar and a bit of cello, MacDonald serves to support my opening point when she is given the lead vocal on a delicate and beautiful take of “In My Life.”

Overall, “Imagined” is a respectful, occasionally playful and sometimes truly inspired tribute to an artist who left us too soon.

Steve Feeney is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.