Billie Joe Armstrong, Norah Jones Stage Surprise 'Foreverly' Concert - Rolling Stone
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Billie Joe Armstrong, Norah Jones Stage Surprise ‘Foreverly’ Concert

Watch unlikely duo perform smoky, sweet rendition of “Roving Gambler”

Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones performed a surprise set comprising their entire 2013 Everly Brothers tribute album, Foreverly, at the intimate Bowery Electric in New York City Wednesday night.

Despite never touring behind the LP, Jones and Armstrong sounded perfectly at ease throughout opener “Roving Gambler,” available to watch above. Both strummed acoustic guitars and settled into the kind of dusty, smoky harmonies perfect for tragic tales of no-good hoodlums and card players.

Jones and Armstrong performed the rest of Foreverly track-by-track, but closed the show with a cover of “Sure to Fall (In Love with You),” a song penned by Carl Perkins, Bill Cantrell and Quinton Claunch and notably recorded by the Beatles during their BBC sessions.

As much as Foreverly was an Everly Brothers tribute album, it was specifically a remake of the duo’s unique album, Songs Our Daddy Taught Us. Released in 1958 after a string of hits, the LP found the Everly Brothers paying homage to their Tennessee roots with acoustic renditions of traditional folk and country songs.

Armstrong stumbled across the LP and quickly fell in love with it, growing enamored with the notion of pop and rock’s two earliest stars singing about death, jail and unrequited love. “I liked the whole concept,” Armstrong told Rolling Stone, “that this was something taught to them, and now it’s being taught to me. I thought it would be cool to pass the tradition one more time.”

Jones was brought in on the suggestion of Armstrong’s wife, Adrienne. The singer-songwriter handled the higher harmonies typically sung by Phil Everly, while Armstrong played Don; though the structure of their harmonies was similar to the Everlys’ originals, the pairing of male and female voices heightened the emotional and sexual tensions in many of the tracks.

“That was the key to us – not to just copy the record,” Jones said. “Songs like ‘Down in the Willow Garden’ and ‘Put My Little Shoes Away’ – they’re such dark lyrics. We thought we’d play that up.”


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