You know that country duet between Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones you never knew you wanted? Well, it's here. Even better news: the Green Day frontman and jazz pianist have secretly recorded an entire album of country covers. Entitled Foreverly, the upcoming record is actually a track-by-track covers album of a 1958 Everly Brothers record called Sounds Our Daddy Taught Us, an LP that found the rock n' roll duo covering classic country songs they grew up with.
So how did Billie Joe Armstrong & Norah Jones covering Everly Brothers covering traditional country singers come about in 2013? To make this story even stranger, it seems we have Stevie Wonder to thank.
"We sang together with Stevie Wonder and a whole bunch of people, that's how Norah and I first met," Armstrong told Stereogum during a joint interview with Jones. "I got into the Everly Brothers’ record a couple years ago and I thought it was just beautiful. I thought it would be cool to remake the record because 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."
After Armstrong's wife suggested he contact Jones with the idea, the punk singer called her up. And she agreed, but not wholeheartedly. "I had just gotten off tour and I was kinda tired. I didn't know how I felt about jumping into making a whole record," Jones said. "We agreed to go into the studio for a few days just to try it out." After that, Armstrong's energy took over and sealed the deal. "Billie Joe, you’re such an enthusiastic person, you totally sold me in three minutes," Jones explained. "It definitely took a minute to get super, super comfortable. But then after hearing what the first song ['Roving Gambler'] sounded like I thought, 'Oh, it's gonna be great, it's gonna be fine.'"
For a taste of the upcoming Foreverly, listen to their version of "Long Time Gone," a song the Everlys picked up from country legend Tex Ritter, over at Stereogum.
Given the strong country imprint on several of her albums, Jones is obviously at home with this twangy balladeering. Armstrong, however, is surprising self-effacing on this material. At points, his voice is only recognizable if you're straining to hear it. As Jones puts it, "[My friends] were really blown away by how Billie Joe sounds so Everly-esque. Everyone has been so surprised and impressed."