Photo by Elli Papayanopoulos/Elli Lauren Photography
Tonight the Grammy Awards TV show will include a tribute to Phil Everly of rock pioneers the Everly Brothers, who died Jan. 3 at age 74 in Burbank. But some of the older music journalists of LA were buzzing in advance about last night's sold-out tribute to Phil Everly, and it sounds as if the Troubadour stage has hosted another memorable show. "Deliriously upbeat," writes Chris Willman on the Hollywood Reporter website.
Among those showing up to pay their musical respects -- and/or to play on some original material as well as a brotherly perennial -- were Bonnie Raitt, Ry Cooder, Rodney Crowell, T Bone Burnett, Joe Henry, and Sarah Jarosz. “He rocked the world … softly,” as one of the headliners, Jim Lauderdale, put it.
Everly’s widow, Patty, watched on the balcony for the two-and-a-half show, just a little over three weeks after her husband’s death, and was saluted at the outset of the show by AMA director Jed Hilly, who said, “You got balls, baby.” Don Everly , meanwhile, sent regrets and said he was still too “broken-hearted” to attend in a letter read by Crowell near the close of the evening....
Among those covering material from the Everlys’ Daddy album was Rhiannon Giddens, a member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops who’s just wrapping up a T Bone Burnett-produced solo album. Burnett has been swearing to anyone who’ll listen that Giddens’ appearance at his Inside Llewyn Davis-promoting “Another Day, Another Time” concert in New York last September was a “star is born” moment. That seemed to be replicated with this blown-away L.A. crowd (which included a lot of visiting Nashvillians and Austinites) as Giddens delivered a knockout punch first with the Everly-popularized “Long Time Gone,” then another traditional folk song, “Waterboy,” which she’d learned from Odetta.
Randy Lewis in the LA Times said the event was in contrast to the pre-Grammy party being hosted in Beverly Hills by Clive Davis. Excerpt:
Every duo that came after them tried to sing like the Everlys, but none of us could match them,” said Peter Asher, half of the British Invasion duo Peter & Gordon, and who became an esteemed producer and manager after his run at pop fame in the '60s faded. “It remains everyone’s idea of the ideal duo.”
Bonnie Raitt, Ry Cooder, Rodney Crowell, T Bone Burnett, Joe Henry, Asher, Carolina Chocolate Drops singer Rhiannon Giddens, Jim Lauderdale, blues singer Bobby Rush, the Haden triplets, Sarah Jarosz, members of L.A. roots-rock band Dawes, the Milk Carton Kids, Old Crow Medicine Show’s Willie Watson and several others used Everlys music not as the alpha and omega of the show, but as its musical anchor.
Among the many highlights was Cooder’s collaboration with Petra, Rachel and Tanya Haden, the triplet daughters of jazz bassist Charlie Haden, who grew up immersed in country music before becoming one of the world’s most acclaimed jazz bassists. Cooder has produced their forthcoming album of old-time country songs, including “So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad)."
Steve Hochman on Facebook: "Rodney Crowell read a touching letter from Don Everly, too deep in mourning to be there this night, and then duetted with Joe Henry on the most movingly heartbreaking "Cathy's Clown" you could imagine." Also this:
Hard to believe anyone could steal a show with a lineup like this. But, well, Rhiannon Giddens....
Video bonus: "Long Time Gone" as sung by Norah Jones and Billie Jo Armstrong.