Millions of music fans will have mourned Phil Everly but few more than Wellington musician Nick Girone-Maddocks. Here’s his tribute to one of popular music’s most influential singers and songwriters.
“I met both Don & Phil a few times at gigs in the ‘90s. I used to keep in touch with them (before the Internet!) by corresponding with Phil at his guitar string company in California and Don via his Everly Lake Malone Inn, near Nashville. I went there once but he was away on tour. Phil sent me a couple of Christmas cards, and some strings to try out. He was a great guy.
“Being a musician myself for the last 30-odd years, and a keen lover of my parents’ music collection throughout my childhood, it is The Everly Brothers who have enlightened and influenced me the most.
“The Everly Brothers were incredibly natural singers, having been brought up in the hills of Kentucky and Illinois where music was the main form of entertainment. Since they were small boys they sang on their parents’ ‘Everly Family Radio Show’ – on regional radio in and around their hometowns.
“The Brothers are obviously best known for their massive hit singles in the late ‘50s, but it is the late ‘60s and early ‘70s music of theirs that I believe sets the real bench mark. Seminal albums such as 1968’s ‘Roots’ , and the 1792 releases ‘Pass The Chicken & Listen’ and ‘Stories We Can Tell’ – all examples of how ‘Roots Rock’ (latterly known as Americana) would become more mainstream over the next decade with acts like the Hollies, The Byrds, Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris.
“Despite their public notoriety for falling out, the last time I saw them was backstage at a gig in London. Both signed a few LPs I had with me. Whilst they were clearly focussed on the sell-out gig they were about to play, they both knew the importance of that moment to me and couldn’t have been any more pleasant. They declined a photo, but their good mate and guitarist Albert Lee was there to oblige.
“I bang on about Everly Brothers music all the time. Barely a few days can go by without me having to listen to those beautiful and simple harmonies. With Phil now no longer with us, such a live experience will never be, but at least we have an incredible back-catalogue to cherish and pass on to our children.
“I will be showing my full apreciation of Phil’s music, and digging deep inot the Everly archive on my monthly radio show which is next Thursday 23rd at 6pm on www.10radio.org
“If you get a minute, look beyond the ‘Greatest Hits’ and dig a little deeper. There’s some real gold in there that needs to be heard!”