The musical about the life of The Everly Brothers, wrapped up in late 1998 after six months of rave reviews at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. Its stars, Jeff Boyet and Matt Newton, have agreed to reunite for the first time in sixteen years for a concert that will be held four months to the day after Phil Everly's death.
SurfKY News spoke with both performers about the daunting task of portraying the legendary duo, and the upcoming concert.
Boyet and Newton said that after auditioning with thousands of others, they were honored to be cast for The Everly Brothers. Boyet was chosen to portray Don and Newton was cast as Phil. Both Nashville musicians, Boyet is a successful actor and musician, and Newton released his first single “Just A Snowflake.”
Both agreed that the six months they shared the stage at the Ryman Auditorium, the original home of the Grand Ole Opry, was a high point in their lives.
"I could have sung those songs until the cows came home," Boyet said. "Don and Phil were just brilliant. They changed with the times, and never lost that totally unique sound."
Newton confessed that it was a very high bar to reach anywhere close to the Everly Brothers' tight vocal blend.
"It was truly a daunting task to portray the biggest duo in rock and roll history," Newton said. "Jeff and I both knew that their sound was something you either got right, or you were just two guys holding guitars. Of course, no one will ever match Don and Phil, but it was an honor to even portray them."
Boyet said that he developed an early love of the Everly Brothers music growing up in St. Louis.
"My parents were part of the Everly Brothers era," Boyet said. "We would sit for hours listening to them on eight track tapes. This really helped me in the audition process because I remembered the songs so well from growing up. When I was auditioning for the role, everyone seemed to perform either "Wake Up Little Susie" or "Bye Bye Love." I was standing in front of the director and sang “Bird Dog.” Everyone was stunned, but I love that song. I could remember it from when I was a child and singing it always made me smile."
Newton said that although he knew the Everly Brothers' hits, it wasn't until he won the role as Phil Everly that he realized the full impact the duo had on the world.
"I knew their songs," Newton said, "But when I began doing research, it hit me that these two brothers were undeniably the biggest influence on the sound of most of the other groups to follow including The Beatles. It was sad that the British invasion overshadowed them to some extent in the mid-60s. I was humbled and honored to be a part of bringing attention to two of the biggest names in music history."
Boyet and Newton agreed that working together was meant to be, after being chosen over so many others.
"The auditions were a three day process, and Jeff and I were paired together as the process progressed down to just ten people," Newton said. "Now we feel comfortable paying tribute to them, because we were chosen to portray them, we performed on stage with them, and spent time with them. That makes us unique from any other Everly Brothers tribute show that might be out there."
Boyet said the news of Phil Everly's death was a shock.
"It immediately brought back the memories of having met him and Don," Boyet said. "We performed at the Everly Brothers Homecoming in 1998, and Phil was just so kind and generous to me. Here I was, talking to one of the biggest stars ever, and he was wanting to know what was happening with me. He was just one of the boys. Of course, then I thought about Don, and how sad it must be to lose a brother. But this music cannot die. It is so pure and brotherly. Matt and I talked soon after that and we both feel that now is the time to reunite."
Newton agreed that the time to share the Everly Brothers' music is now.
"We both are very serious about our love of the Everly Brothers music," Newton said. "There is definitely a lot of pressure when you are compared to Don and Phil. I began to think about the opening night of “Bye Bye Love.” Don and Phil's mother, Margaret Everly, was in the audience and came backstage to meet us. She was visibly touched. She looked at us and said 'I thought I was hearing my boys up there.' If we can please their mother, we are ready."Tickets are on sale now at the Central City Tourism Commission. Call (270) 754-9603(270) 754-9603.
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