Pop meets country in Foreverly

Doug Gallant
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Plenty of past hits on soundtrack of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

The past 12 months have witnessed several interesting collaborations in both pop and country music.

But few of those musical pairings have produced a better result than Foreverly, a record that brought Green Day front man Billy Joe Armstrong and singer-songwriter Norah Jones together for a run at several classic offerings from the Everly Brothers.

This 12-song collection, which features superb covers of material like Roving Gambler, Down In The Willow Garden, Silver Haired Daddy of Mine and Who’s Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Feet, was inspired by Songs Our Daddy Taught Us, an album of traditional Americana songs reinterpreted, recorded and released by The Everly Brothers in 1958.

Foreverly features the kind of close harmonies that Phil and Don Everly were known for, wrapped around arrangements that could easily have come from almost any Everly Brothers record from the 1950s or ‘60s.

This record, which was recorded in just nine days, had been percolating in Armstrong’s head for some time.

“I’ve been a big fan of The Everly Brothers since I was a little boy,” Armstrong said recently.

“A couple of years ago, I discovered Songs Our Daddy Taught Us for the first time and I fell in love with it. I was playing it every day and thought it would be a cool idea to re-do the record, but with a female singer.”

He said he thought of Norah Jones because she can sing anything, from rock to jazz to blues.

“And I knew her harmonies would be amazing. I thought the songs would take on a different meaning working with her, and she has a really good ear for arrangements.”

Jones, a long-time Everly Brothers fan herself, who used to cover “Bird Dog” in a previous band, describes herself as “a sucker for harmonies and country music.”

“Billie Joe’s enthusiasm about the songs and his low-key, open approach to the music was very inviting. He wasn’t set in his ideas, which made it fun for us both to sort of discover what felt right for us, musically.”

Two of Jones’ favourite musicians, bassist Tim Luntzel and drummer Dan Rieser played on the record. Armstrong and Jones played guitar and piano. Other featured players included fiddler Charlie Burnham and pedal steel player Johnny Lam.

What they accomplished in the studio together made Foreverly one of my favourite records of 2013.

You just don’t hear a lot of harmonies like this anymore, save possibly for some bluegrass acts.

If this record does not earn a Grammy nomination I’ll be very surprised.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Various Artists — Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (Music From The Motion Picture)

The soundtrack for Will Ferrell’s Anchorman 2 features close to a dozen chestnuts from the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s.

Included in that cluster are Christopher Cross’s Ride Like The Wind, Neil Diamond’s Shilo, Argent’s Hold Your Head Up, Jay Ferguson’s Thunder Island and John Waite’s Change.

Hot Chocolate, England Dan and John Ford Coley and Kenny Loggins are also represented here.

Hardcore Anchorman fans may get a charge out of several little bits of business that feature Ferrell’s Ron Burgundy character, as well as news team members Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), Brick Tamland (Steve Carrell) and Champ Kind (David Koechner).

One of those bits is a version of Ride Like The Wind that features Burgundy offering comic asides as Robin Thicke handles lead vocals.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.


Doug Gallant, a reporter with The Guardian, writes his music review column for The Guardian every week. He welcomes comments from readers at dgallant@theguardian.pe.ca or 629-6000, ext. 6057.

Organizations: Everly Brothers, The Guardian

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