It may look a tad curious on paper, but the combination of Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong and mellow-voiced chanteuse Norah Jones paying tribute to The Everly Brothers is a resounding success. More specifically, the duo has chosen to revisit all 12 songs on the Everlys’ landmark 1958 album Songs Our Daddy Taught Us, its rootsy country and traditional folk itself a departure from the brothers’ more pop-minded hits.
It’s not especially new territory for Jones, who, away from the cool jazz of her solo records, continues to play and record with her part-time country band The Little Willies, but it was Armstrong who instigated this collaboration, having earlier performed with Norah at a Stevie Wonder show. The blend of the voices is sublime: Billie Joe for the most part taking the vocal lines originally handled by Don Everly, with Norah adding the cushioned Phil-like harmony.
With minimal instrumental backing, the pair confidently locate the essence and atmosphere of the original album: the heartbreakingly tender Who’s Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Feet? and I’m Here To Get My Baby Out Of Jail. It’s as much a celebration of bygone country as it is the Everlys, echoing with authenticity on the subdued yodel of Long Time Gone and the tale of doomed lovers Down In The Willow Garden.