September 1st 2001
2 September 2001
By David Blackburn
Friday night's Everly Brothers Homecoming XIV that highlights the annual
Central City Music Festival was the finale for the Brownie-born duo.
"It's matured enough where they don't need us," Phil Everly said
at a news conference at the Central City Elementary School gym prior to the
benefit concert that drew a crowd estimated by Kentucky State Police at 11,000
But while Everly plans to attend future homecomings as a spectator, he
didn't rule out a curtain call, either with him and/or brother Don playing
master of ceremonies or performing only with guitars.
"Anything like that is likely," he said.
Phil Everly, left, waves to a
group of fans while he and brother Don Everly open their set in the
Everly Brothers' Homecoming XIV Saturday night in Central City.
Approximately 11,000 attended the music festival, which could be the
last for the duo. Photo by Bryan Leazenby, M-I
The brothers cited the rigors and logistics of touring with a full band,
some members of which live in England, as reasons for ending one-night
performances such as the local concert.
"You miss home when you're not there," said Phil Everly, adding
that they will continue to tour such places as Las Vegas and possibly record.
"We're not retiring in the sense of we're not making music," he
said. "We're going to slow it down to a crawl."
Dean Rowe, the publicity chairman for the Everly Brothers Foundation, was
unsure of the impact the brothers' absence will make on future events.
"When they're not associated with the event, we certainly have to
work harder to make the event successful," Rowe said after the news
"They've got an open invitation any time they want to be part of
it," he said.
Don Everly did not attend the news conference, but fellow performers Keith
Urban and Hobie Hubbard of Sawyer Brown did. Both praised the Everly Brothers'
"This is an incredible honor. There is no way I can tell you how much
your music has meant for every one of us," said Hubbard, whose band is
finishing its 18th album for a 2002 release.
"I've grown up listening to your music," said the
Australian-born Urban, whose "Where the Highway Ends" was No. 3 this
past week on the country music charts. He won a Grammy as Best New Male Vocalist
earlier this year.
Sean Weaver, left, is
congratulated by Phil Everly after Weaver played a few riffs on his
guitar backstage at the homecoming Saturday night in Central City.
Weaver of Olympia, Wash., won both the Thumbpicking and Open Guitar
competitions in last week's Home of the Legends International
Thumbpicking Contest in Greenville, and got to play a couple tunes for
the crowd before the Everlys took the stage. Photo by Bryan Leazenby,
Younger fans cleared out much of the Urban and Sawyer Brown souvenirs, but
it was the Everlys' fans that bought all of the brothers' compact discs and
tapes in less than 30 minutes Friday afternoon, said Bonnie Richey, the
foundation's souvenirs chairman.
"Your Everly Brothers fans were here early," Richey said.
And what they heard later as the sun set and full moon rose on the
school's activities field and nearby hillside were tight, clear harmonies that
made the Everlys international stars 45 years ago.
Their 55-minute set, with them standing side-by-side in front of a
Y-shaped microphone stand, covered hits that put them atop the rock-and-roll,
R-&-B and pop charts in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Starting with "Green River," they performed "When Will I Be
Loved?", a song written by Phil Everly; "Bye Bye, Love," their
first big hit in 1957 that Don said "got us off the streets of Nashville
and on the road"; and two-million sellers "Cathy's Clown" and
"All I Have To Do Is Dream."
"Wake Up, Little Susie" energized the crowd, who sang the
"ooo-la-la" chorus, and led to the first of several standing ovations.
"Let It Be Me," a song by the late Chet Atkins that Don said was their
favorite and most-requested ballad, was dedicated to Atkins, their first
That the brothers left the stage possibly for the last time as performers
also left some fans saddened.
"We were devastated," said longtime fan Scott Kelly of Ontario,
Canada, of his learning from the Everly Brothers' Web site that this would be
their final performance. "I was weaned on Buddy Holly and the Everly
"It's sad that this era is coming to an end," said Kelly's wife, Colleen. "We hope they will change their minds."
31 August 2001
By David Blackburn
POWDERLY -- Word that this year's Everly Brothers Homecoming might be the
last one with Phil and Don performing prompted two foreign fans to finally come
to the brothers' home.
But for Anneke Drese of Australia and Suki Wescott of England, the venture
to the Muhlenberg County Everly Brothers Fan Club's Fan Night on Thursday was
They were among the 125 people in the Muhlenberg County Agriculture and
Convention Center who uttered a collective groan when it was announced the 13th
Fan Night will also be the last.
"I especially came here for this," Drese said of Fan Night and
the concert on Saturday. Having heard this might be the Everlys' last go-round,
"I thought I'd go over."
"I always wanted to come, and since it was going to be the last one .
. . " Wescott said, shrugging her shoulders. The concert "was the
reason I came in."
Marilyn Kirtley, club president and organizer, said the decision was made
to end Fan Night because the fans, especially the three dozen or so from
overseas, won't be back if the Everlys aren't performing.
"It's sad for me," Kirtley said before the auction. "I've
been doing this for 13 years."
"We hope the day will come where we will all get together
again," she told the crowd.
Diana Sue Taylor of Bremen, a first cousin of the Everlys, said she was
not surprised at the Everlys' decision to cut back on performing at the
"I'm sure they're getting tired," she said.
Taylor, like most of those at Thursday's gathering, chatted with fellow
fans, took pictures and shared photos and other memorabilia.
Being a cousin, though, she had a more extensive collection. A small photo
album included baby pictures of the brothers and family members, as well as a
card announcing the Jan. 19, 1939, birth of 7-pound, 10 3/4-ounce Philip.
Others, like Linda Atwell of Indianapolis, brought albums to donate to the
auction. Among them were two Everly Brothers albums, four solo albums by Phil
and two by Don -- the titles of which Atwell rattled off by memory.
Atwell, who became a fan in 1980 by listening to a friend's albums, has
attended every Fan Night and concert.
"I belonged to the national fan club in 1988," Atwell said.
"They asked me to come down and help (with the first homecoming).
"We wound up in a truck full of balloons in the parade," she
said, chuckling at the memory.
Drese, 55, became a fan listening to the neighbors' Everly Brothers albums
as a child in Holland, where they were the most popular group in the late 1950s
and early 1960s, she said. "Bird Dog" is one of the first songs she
remembers from her childhood.
"I wanted to do this for years," Drese said of coming to
Muhlenberg County. Her visit was prompted by a documentary about the brothers
and their traveling back to Kentucky. "I thought, 'One day, I'd like to go
Wescott, a member of a British fan club who saw the brothers in a 1993
concert in England, became a fan listening to her parents' tapes.
"I've been listening to them since I was a kid," said Wescott,
"It's great," she said of the Fan Night crowd and Everly
Brothers Homecoming Week.
Nathan Chowning thought so, too, of his first Homecoming in 1999, mainly
because of "how friendly everybody was."
And that was before people found out the 15-year-old Lancaster resident
portrayed a 9-year-old Phil Everly during a 1998 production of "Bye Bye,
Love: The Everly Brothers Musical" at Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.
"We didn't know what to expect," Chowning said about him and his
parents, Bud and Donna Chowning. The family is attending its third straight
Nathan Chowning later sang "Devoted to You," this year's Fan
Night theme, and "Dream" playing a guitar he used in the musical.
At his urging, "Dream" became a sing-along. Most smiled as they
sang the plaintive tune, not even needing to see the words they knew by heart.
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