Listen Up! Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones – “Long Time Gone” (The Everly Brothers)

Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones

After seeing the live many years ago at Lollapalooza I quickly became a Green Day Fan. not a record buying kind, but the kind that when the subject of punk came up I weighed in on their side. Of course making a jillion $$ and a Bradway shows doesn’t help with punk cred, but none of that mattered to me anyway. I never bought into punk purity. Green Day could put on a show and hold an audience. I was a fan.

When I heard that Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong was collaborating with my Dallas home-girl Norah Jones i was amused. Then I heard it was a track-for-track tribute to the Everly Brothers’ 1958 classic, “Songs Our Daddy Taught Us.” Then I was intrigued.

The album, “Foreverly,” originated when Armstrong, who says he’s a longtime Everly Brothers fan, discovered the pop-Americana/folk 12-song collection a couple years go.

So why Norah Jones? “I thought of Norah because she can sing anything, from rock to jazz to blues,” he says, “and I knew her harmonies would be amazing.” Armstrong tells Rolling Stone.

The duo recorded the album in nine days at the Magic Shop studio in Manhattan with Engineer Chris Dugan at the boards. Armstrong and Jones split vocal duties (along with guitar and piano),  and were accompanied by fiddle player Charlie Burnham, bassist Tim Luntzel, drummer Dan Rieser and pedal-steel guitarist Johnny Lam.

Armstrong and Jones told Stereogum that the process of making the album was similar to a “blind date.”

“We sang together with Stevie Wonder and his band and a whole bunch of people, that’s how Norah and I first met,” Armstrong says. “Then, well, I got into the Everly Brothers’ record a couple years ago, and I thought it was just beautiful. I was listening to it every morning for a while off and on. I thought it would be cool to remake the record because I thought it was sort of an obscure thing and more people should know about it, but I really wanted to do it with a woman singing because I thought it would take on a different meaning – maybe broaden the meaning a little bit – as compared to hearing the songs being sung by the two brothers. And so my wife said, ‘Why don’t you get Norah Jones to do it?’ and I was like, ‘Well, I kinda know her.’ Well, I mean, we had Stevie Wonder in common. And so I called her and she said yes.” Armstrong tells Rolling Stone.
“The average listener might be like, ‘Well, that’s not punk rock’ or whatever in regards to this record, but I like doing different things – it’s fun, it makes life more interesting,” he said.

“Foreverly” will be released November 25th on Reprise Records. In the meantime, check the stream of the lovely and softly twangy “Long Time Gone.”

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