Tribute albums are a tricky business. In A Date with the Everly Brothers, however, The Chapin Sisters show exactly how it should be done. This is by far my favorite release so far this year.
Even the cover is perfect, with the sisters, Abigail and Lily, dressed, styled and posed as Phil and Don Everly in early promo pictures.
The recording was a labor of love. The sisters went into the studio and laid down 14 tracks in one day, just as The Everly Brothers used to do it. Extra vocals were added later to “All I Have to Do Is Dream” and “Cathy’s Clown,” and Rob Schwimmer added three layers of theremin to “Sleepless Nights.”
The important thing is that The Chapin Sisters did not change the songs very much. They kept those gorgeous and dreamy harmonies, and the arrangements still sound absolutely true to this lifelong Everly Brothers fan.
Many favorite Everly Brothers songs are here, including “Cathy’s Clown,” “All I Have to Do Is Dream,” “Crying in the Rain,” “When Will I Be Loved,” “Love Hurts,” and even the dark folk song, “Down In the Willow Garden.” Every one of the 14 songs is a gem and manages to both showcase the talented sisters and evoke The Everly Brothers simultaneously. The transition across genders and generations is amazingly smooth. The songs maintain not only those amazing harmonies, but the sweet, often sad, romantic innocence that infused the originals and touched so many teenage hearts.
Even though the sisters kept the original wording on songs like “Cathy’s Clown,” so close is the connection between the sisters and the brothers that nothing ever sounds awkward.
The recording should send old and new fans scurrying to find more by the Chapin Sisters and seeking out the original recordings as well.
Originally, A Date with The Everly Brothers was intended to be a digital-only release, but it developed into such a labor of love that the sisters launched a successful Kickstarter fund to make the physical CDs.
No matter how you choose to get it, buy this music. It is absolute perfection for any lover of harmony, early rock, country-rock ballads, or roots music.