After our talk about the album, the plan was to write a blog post about it. Well other things, including the holidays got in the way. Then last night word came that Phil Everly had died. I expect in the next few days we will all be hearing a lot of the familiar songs by Phil and Don, so I thought here on Kat's Theory of Music, we'd take a listen to the Jones-Armstrong tribute to two of the pioneers of rock music.
When they started to record the album, Jones and Armstrong weren't sure how their harmonies would sound. Norah Jones decided they needed to look at each other as they sang, to see and feel each other's breathing. The first song they recorded was "Long Time Gone," and it's fair to say her idea worked wonderfully. Now nothing comes close to sibling harmonies, think the Everly's, Ann and Nancy Wilson, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, the Coors, and going all the way back to the Andrew Sisters. But Jones and Armstrong found a beautiful balance in their voices where each exhibits its full harmony potential.
As was the case with so many of the songs handed down through the generations, this grouping has its share of sad and melancholy numbers. There is also the feel of old fashioned Americana-Country, where the harmonies let the story be told. This isn't an album of Everly Brothers hit songs, rather it's more of a trip back to discover their roots.
Norah Jones and Billie Joe Armstrong have recorded a surprisingly beautiful album, hopefully it will find an audience to enjoy some songs which influenced two of music's great writers, who brought singing harmony to an entirely new level.
Rest in Peace Phil Everly. May your journey home be a tuneful one.
Stream the entire album here: