Don & Phil Everly, despite being Rock & Roll Hall of Famers, probably aren’t at the top of your Spotify playlists. If you have any of their songs in your iTunes library, it’s likely one of the half-dozen songs that have reached the upper echelon of our cultural literacy through daily spins on oldies radio stations. But through the 60s and early 70s, they released a series of albums rich with quality songs written by the duo themselves, as well as by some of the best songwriters around, such as Kris Kristofferson, Goffin & King, Randy Newman, the Hollies, Jimmy Webb and Felice & Boudleaux Bryant (who wrote such hits as “Cathy’s Clown” & “Devoted to You”).
And while these records many only be known to the most discriminating music listeners, many musicians take great inspiration from the Everly’s stellar vocal harmonies, perfectly crafted arrangements & top-notch musicianship.
This winter, Dawn McCarthy & Will Oldham (aka Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy), two great artists who are both serious Everly Brothers fans, released “What the Brothers Sang”, a tribute CD to some of these great, lesser-known Everly Brothers records.
This week they joined me from San Francisco to chat about the album, as well as to perform a couple of songs with guitarist Emmett Kelly. They even played an exclusive version of “Love Hurts“, which was not on the album but was an Everly Brothers favorite. Stream it below.
I’ll broadcast this special session on my show, including a live version of “Empty Boxes“, this Sunday evening at around 10:30. The record is a wonderful reintroduction to a landmark duo of pop music, and the conversation makes clear Dawn & Will’s affection for the Brothers’ legacy. Take a listen:
ERIC J. LAWRENCE