Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss Pay Tribute to the Everly Brothers
In Cleveland, Ohio, on Saturday night (Oct. 25), some of music's biggest names gathered to pay tribute to the country pioneers during a sold-out concert that produced once-in-a-lifetime onstage collaborations.
Vince Gill -- who dueted with the late Phil Everly on ‘Sweet Little Corrina' in 2006 -- naturally looked and sounded thrilled to be there. His take on 'Sleepless Nights' with R&B star Ledisi was particularly poignant: The duo conveyed the song's desperation and heartbreak with dynamic vocals that veered from subtle to strong and proud.
Gill's harmonies with Shelby Lynne on 'Til I Kissed You' were also a revelation; the pair's voices blended seamlessly on the country chestnut. He later dedicated a propulsive, honky-tonkin' version of 'When Will I Be Loved' (a duet with Alison Krauss) to Everly's widow, Patti -- and thanks to more pinpoint harmonies, he and singing partner Graham Nash preserved the spirit of hits 'So Sad (to Watch Good Love Go Bad)' and 'Cathy's Clown.'
Krauss also had the honor of performing 'Gone Gone Gone' with JD Souther and the No. 1 single 'All I Have to Do Is Dream' with Emmylou Harris. The pair elevated the melancholy and resignation of the latter song with restrained, sighing performances. Harris in turn reprised her cover of 'Love Hurts,' originally a duet with Gram Parsons, with the night's musical director, Rodney Crowell, and teamed up with legendary guitarist Albert Lee -- a long-time Everly Brothers sideman -- for a carefree (but sadness-tinged) 'Bye Bye Love.'
Souther too impressed on 'Lucille' and on the gently twangy, quavering 'Crying in the Rain.' And he had the night's best bit of trivia, noting that Phil Everly was the one who came up with the title of Warren Zevon's legendary hit 'Werewolves of London.'
But naturally, the sibling acts in the concert's lineup turned in some of the night's most affecting performances. The Secret Sisters -- who charmingly admitted their anxiety about performing for "the man who taught us how to sing" -- wowed the audience with versions of 'Lonely Island' and 'On the Wings of a Nightingale.' Their piercing, clear-as-a-bell vocals and spartan acoustic guitar accompaniment revealed no hint of nerves -- especially on the former song.
Lynne and sister Allison Moorer also thrilled on 'Maybe Tomorrow' -- where their harmonies sounded intuitive -- and a rocking, raucous (and almost menacing) take on 'The Price of Love.'
"We cut our teeth on the Everly Brothers," Lynne made sure to note.
The reverential tone that permeated the show extended all the way through its ending, when the entire cast of performers returned to the stage -- along with Don Everly -- for two additional run-throughs of 'Bye Bye Love.'
The ensemble sweetly and very visibly encouraged Everly to sing more forcefully the second time around; in fact, Gill jumped around like a giddy kid at the edge of the stage, seemingly ecstatic to be hearing one of his idols singing once again.