This year the Newport Folk Festival featured a lot of two things: surprise sit-ins and covers. Roger Waters played with My Morning Jacket, and they covered John Prine. Iron and Wine and Band of Horse’s Ben Bridwell formed a band, and they covered Talking Heads. Most notably, Dawes, Hozier, First Aid Kit, Gillian Welch, Deer Tick, and many more all formed a supergroup to cover a bunch of Bob Dylan songs (for the 50th anniversary of his legendary going-electric performance there).
In a sense, this is only an Everly Brothers cover album because the Everlys got to the songs first. Released 55 years ago, Songs Our Daddy Taught Us was comprised of just that, Everly Brother renditions of classics and standards. Billie Joe Armstrong, having fond memories of said album, decided to pay tribute to it, and he invited Norah Jones to join him. “Of course; what an obvious pairing,” said nobody.
The resulting album, punningly titled Foreverly, is a song-by-song (in a slightly modified order) rerecording of the Everlys’ classic album, and a potential introduction of the Everly Brothers to a whole new audience. There’s also the possibility that it introduces a whole new audience to Norah Jones. Or Billie Joe Armstrong. Who knows, but there’s a good chance that the number of people who are big fans of all three are few and far between (and likely thrilled).
It was early 1986 when Pegi Young told her husband Neil Young that they would need to build a school to suit the special needs of their son, Ben. She then suggested that in order to pay for it, that Neil call his friend Bruce Springsteen and put together a concert to fund it. 25 years later, the Bridge School Benefit concert has become an annual tradition where superstars from all genres of music come to share the gift of music to support this amazing school. The Bridge shows are all acoustic and offer a unique setting where artists can experiment with their material and get the chance to sit in and play with friends and heroes alike.
Bonnie “Prince” Billy earned his stripes as a folkie, so him covering the Everly Brothers comes as no surprise. No surprise, that is, until you actually hear it. Paired with the Phantom Family Halo, he turns Don and Phil’s “I Wonder If I Should Care” into a roaring guitar freakout, the words only an excuse to get to more six-string theatrics. Decidedly not the indie-strummer approach you might expect.
Two new free mixtapes have hit the Internet in the past few weeks and they share a common sound: dream pop. The way they get there, though, couldn’t be more different.
Music Tumblrs Cactus Mouth and The Unholy Rhythm deliver a set of covers of songs from the late ‘50s and early ‘60s. That means lots of proto-rock tunes from the likes of the Everly Brothers and Bo Diddley, given the indie sort of beach-haze vibe so popular these days. It’s not just a bunch of Best Coast wannabes though; more earnest acoustic material crops up every now and then.