Brandi Carlile made an unannounced appearance at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cleveland on Saturday night. Joined by her bandmates Tim and Phil Hanseroth, she sang a lovely and understated acoustic version of “All I Have to Do Is Dream” at the end of the In Memoriam section to honor early rock pioneer Don Everly, who died in August.
The trio nailed the harmonies on “All I Have to Do Is Dream,” which appears at No. 323 on Rolling Stone‘s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Their approach was both precise and slightly hazy, so the song had an appropriately dream-like vibe. Carlile’s acoustic guitar approach was also sparse and deliberate, so as not to overshadow their voices.
Brandi Carlile closes out the “in memoriam” segment honoring the late Don Everly. A little surreal for me because I remember seeing the Everly Brothers perform in this same room almost 20 years ago with Simon & Garfunkel. pic.twitter.com/WaFrYFYye9
— Dr. Bryan McGeary (@BMcgeary) October 31, 2021
Carlile, who was spotted in a photo with the Go-Go’s the day before the ceremony, had previously covered “Love Hurts,” which the Everlys recorded in 1960. In an interview before the ceremony, she noted another favorite song (“Let It Be Me”) and stated how eager she was to appear in Don Everly’s honor: “I can’t remember how exactly I was asked, but I know that my answer was, ‘In a hot minute.'”
When talking about the Everlys’ talents, she zeroed in on how unorthodox and groundbreaking their music was. “They’re never in step with standard music theory,” she said. “There were always melodies, lead lines like that … And they can’t be sung along with. They have to be decoded. That’s so exciting.” She namechecked a few of the bands the duo influenced, such as Simon & Garfunkel and the Beatles, but noted how understated brothers Don and Phil Everly really were.
“I don’t even know if either brother ever considered themselves a hell of a singer,” Carlile said. “I feel like I’m not trying to write into their family industry, but I wonder if they both always believed that they were the lead singer because the melodies are so standalone.”
Carlile’s no stranger to honoring legendary musicians. Back in August, the surviving members of Soundgarden joined her onstage at the Gorge in Washington to perform “Black Hole Sun” and “Searching With My Good Eye Closed” in tribute to the late Chris Cornell. Carlile, Amanda Shires and Margo Price also honored John Prine at the 2021 Americana Honors & Awards with a lovely version of the late musician’s “I Remember Everything.”
Carlile has had an exceptionally busy few months around the release of her new album, In These Silent Days. Last weekend, she performed incendiary versions of “Right on Time” and “Broken Horses” during her Saturday Night Live debut, weeks after sitting in with Pearl Jam for “Better Man” at Ohana Festival. Later this week, Carlile will honor Joni Mitchell’s 1971 album Blue with a full-album performance at Carnegie Hall.