Album: A Date With the Everly Brothers

Artist: Chapin Sisters

Label: Lake Bottom

Release Date: April 16, 2013

Chapin Sisters


 In terms of country-flavored, unpretentious early rock that influenced the future, the Everly Brothers rank just behind Buddy Holly. And like Holly, they have become recipients of several recent tribute projects. But while the two big recent Holly projects were multi-star affairs (although a third, Paul Burch’s Words of Love, was better than either), the Everlys are the subject of new concept albums from single acts – duos, naturally.

 What the Brothers Sang, by Dawn McCarthy & Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, is a revelation. Much of the material is unfamiliar, even obscure, and the two voices combine to give the record a magical “old weird America” sound that the brothers, themselves, would admire.

 The Chapin Sisters’ A Date With the Everly Brothers is more conventional but still pleasurable. They have recreated the harmonies of many of the brothers’ biggest hits – “Crying in the Rain,” “Cathy’s Clown,” “So Sad,” “Love Hurts,” “When Will I Be Loved,” “All I Have to Do Is Dream,” and “Til I Kissed You” – with Lily doing Don Everly’s parts and Abigail as the higher-pitched Phil.  (They also do some less familiar songs.) The album’s title is taken straight from an old Everlys record; the sisters even dress like the brothers on the cover.

 The sisters, the daughters of Tom Chapin and nieces of the late Harry Chapin, recorded these 14 songs in one long session in Brooklyn with a small, sensitive ensemble assembled by Andrew Taylor. They capture the joyful   exuberance of the Everlys’ upbeat tunes and the etherealness of their ballads, even layering vocal tracks on “Dream.”

 But the spookiness, the chill, of the Appalachian murder ballad “Down in the Willow Garden” escapes them – their version is de rigueur. Still, they convincingly make the case that the Everlys’ material and vocal approach still sound lively.


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