The Everly Brothers are part of the DNA of poprock. They didn’t rock like Elvis or Jerry Lee Lewis or Chuck Berry. They were just nice country boys whose vocal harmonies made the world swoon. The Everlys’ influence is all over everything that comes after them, from the Beatles and Crosby, Stills & Nash to Rockpile and the Proclaimers. And it remains a powerful influence on poprock today, as exhibited by today’s selections.
The Cactus Blossoms are brothers Page and Jack who hail from Minneapolis, Minnesota but sound more like Memphis with their eerie, almost reincarnated Everly/Louvin brothers sound. Close your eyes and listen to “You’re Dreaming” and it’s 1958 all over again. This is pure shiver city. “Clown Collector” captures the rollicking ‘party time’ vibe of so many uptempo Everly numbers while “If I Can’t Win” has the aching feel of the Everly’s slower material. Meanwhile “Mississippi” and “Stoplight Kisses” wouldn’t have gone amiss in Patsy Cline’s catalogue. The brothers have a new record on the horizon, Easy Way, featuring a more new wave, Nick Lowe/Dave Edmunds retro sound, sample-able right now on the preview single, “Please Don’t Call Me Crazy.”
You’re DreamingPlease Don’t Call Me Crazy
I would not have picked Green Day lead vocalist Billie Joe Armstrong or Norah Jones as Everly-philes, but their Everlys tribute album, Foreverly, is full of delightful surprises. The record essentially rerecords the Everly Brothers’ 1958 album, Songs Our Daddy Taught Us and the modern duo manage to add new energy and a bit more swing to the material. The opening cut, “Roving Gambler” is a case in point: a bit more bright on the delivery compared with the Everlys’ more dirge-like performance. Moving to Memphis proper, Motel Mirrors have got a broad set of retro sounds to showcase on their new record. From the Johnny Horton rockabilly of title track “Gotta Lotta Rhythm” to the Elvis-ey quality of “Ooh Las Vegas” the band is firing on some pretty original rock and roll cylinders. But “Meet Me on the Corner” has the jaunty guitar work and hooks reminiscent of the Everly’s early Warner Brothers records.
Billie and Norah – Roving GamblerMotel Mirrors – Meet Me on the Corner