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Billie Joe And Norah Jones: 'Foreverly' Album Review

Ashley Hawkins |
November 26, 2013 | 10:39 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

The album's cover captures the retro theme. (Photo via billiejoeandnorah.com)
The album's cover captures the retro theme. (Photo via billiejoeandnorah.com)
Produced by one of the most surprising pairings in recent years, “Foreverly” by Billie Joe + Norah revives classic country tunes by The Everly Brothers for a new generation. 

For Norah Jones – a diversified, Grammy-winning artist who commonly sings country as well as jazz and blues – this new project logically fits in with her previous work. However, for Billie Joe Armstrong, the lead singer for the popular rock band Green Day, this venture into softer, simpler country music is astonishing.

Known for his usual punk-driven singing style, Billie Joe displays his often-overlooked sweet singing voice (absent from most popular Green Day songs except “Good Riddance”) on “Foreverly.”

Essentially a remake of the classic album “Songs Our Daddy Told Us,” “Foreverly” stays true to The Everly Brothers’ traditional country style of soft, modest melodies backing the vocals of the well-matched duet that tell a story in each song.

While all of the songs on the album are fairly mellow, there is a distinction between the more upbeat tracks, such as the folksy first single “Long Time Gone” and the quieter, more somber ones. 

The album begins with the more upbeat song “Roving Gambler,” carried by the harmonious vocals of Billie Joe and Norah and supported by a simple guitar background and the unique accent of a harmonica – an instrument that even has a solo in this song. The second single from the album, “Silver Haired Daddy of Mine” is a similarly energetic tune, but featuring a piano rather than the harmonica. 

In the other songs with a more upbeat mood, instruments other than the guitar provide the backbone of the melody. For example, in “Kentucky,” the guitar acts only as an accent to the more constant drum pattern, and in “Oh So Many Years,” the piano is the most notable instrument of the song.

Contrastingly, arguably the mellowest song of the album, “Put My Little Shoes Away” hardly has any backing music, driven by the vocals of Billie Joe and Norah. Furthermore, both “Down in the Willow Garden” and  “Rockin’ Alone (in an Old Rockin’ Chair)” is so mellow with a soft piano background that it acquires an almost hymnal quality. 

Nevertheless, not all of the mellow songs neglect the guitar: “Lightning Express” does have a guitar-based melody, but it is much slower-paced than the first few songs of the album. Additionally, in “Who’s Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Feet?” – the guitar, although very light, is the only instrument (other than Billie Joe’s and Norah’s voices) in the song. 

Aside from these songs, all of which feature Billie Joe and Norah singing simultaneously, two songs – one per singer – focus on highlighting that artist’s talent. In “I’m Here to Get My Baby Out of Jail,” Norah Jones delivers a somber, heartfelt performance, carrying the song without much additional instrumentation. Contrastingly, “Barbara Allen” is somewhat more lively, accentuated by a fiddle, and highlights Billie Joe’s strength in carrying a melody. 

Although the music of The Everly Brothers (and classic country in general) is unknown to modern pop culture, “Foreverly” is a genuine work of art by talented musicians that is as timeless as the original “Songs Our Daddy Told Us.” The combination of Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones – although somewhat odd at first glance – is a treat.

Read more of NT's album reviews here.

Reach Staff Reporter Ashley Hawkins here.



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