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Billie Joe + Norah = foreverly

December 7, 2013


Together at last.  For the casual music fan the collaboration of punk icon Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day) and pop/jazz chanteuse Norah Jones may seem odd.  But Green Day has always been thinking man’s punk and Norah has always refused to stay in bounds.

The back story here is Billie Joe wanted to cover The Everly Brother’s 1958 release “Songs Our Daddy Taught Us.”  That album was a covers album of traditional Americana songs.  The album had a special place in Billie Joe’s heart.  Billie Joe wanted to use a female voice and thought of Norah – although he did not really know her he reached out and asked if she was interested.  She was game and they went into the studio to test drive.  They quickly found there was magic and committed to making the album.  I am very casual Green Day fan, but a huge Norah fan so I greatly anticipated this album.  The Everly Brothers are important founding fathers in rock and roll and I don’t think I have every read or heard anything short of adoration from various rock stars with regard to the Everly Brothers.  If you harmonize in a rock song you owe the Everly Brothers.

This is an outstanding album.  The juxtaposition of the murder ballad lyrics with gorgeous melodies and harmonies is classic.  Billie Joe and Norah’s voices mix like gin and tonic.  Billie Joe takes the lead on most songs with Norah is playing her best Emmylou (Harris – the most ubiquitous harmonizing vocalist in rock, country, Americana, etc,).  Billie Joe has a surprisingly sweet folk voice.  It is a real service when pop icons like Billie Joe and Norah lend their credibility to classic folk songs and remind us how amazing the folk cannon is.  It is also great to be reminded how important the Everly Brothers are to pop music history. There is nothing better than when an artist pleasantly surprises and takes a chance.  Thanks Billie Joe and Norah – this really works!


From → Music Reviews

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