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Childhood Friend Recalls Humble, Generous Phil Everly

ev1 300CENTRAL CITY, Ky. (1/8/14) — Few people have put more time and effort into making the Everly Brothers Homecoming Festival a success over its 14-year span as Clarence Brewer, Sr.

Brewer told Surfky News that his earliest memories of Don and Phil were from 1956, when they took part in the dedication of the historical birthplace marker for Merle Travis in Ebenezer, Ky.

"I was just a young boy then, but I can still remember what a huge event it was,” said Brewer. “Don and Phil were there. They were just teenagers then, 15 or 16 years old. That was my first opportunity to hear them perform. It was quite a day, with Gene Autry, Chet Atkins, and of course Merle Travis all attending. There must have been 10,000 people on hand, along with the national media. It was something to remember."

Brewer said his next contact with Phil was around 1958 when Brewer had his own rock band.

"The brothers came to Central City just to visit with relatives." Brewer said. "I had a little band and we were performing at the Central City High School that night. While we were practicing Phil came in and watched for a while. Then he sat in with us during the show and played guitar. We asked him to sing some songs but he said he wasn't allowed to because he was under contract."

ev2 300After the concert Brewer said everyone decided it would be a good idea to go skating.

"At that time the skating rink was down next to the Central City baseball park, I believe." Brewer said. "We all had just enough money to pay for our skates, but then Phil pulled a wad of cash out of his pocket, and he must have had a few hundred dollars. That was the most money I had ever seen at one time. That's when I knew Don and Phil had really made it. He didn't make any big deal about money though."

Brewer said he and the Everly Brothers lost touch after that up until the time of the Everly Brothers Homecoming Festivals in the late 1980s.

"The festivals were always as much of a family reunion for Don and Phil as a concert event." Brewer said.

Later on, Brewer formed Star Recording Studio, where Flower Barn II, is now located on Broad Street in Central City.

"Our original intent was to make it both a recording studio and a radio station, but we were never able to work all of that out." Brewer said. "However, Phil was more than happy to come to the grand opening. We put several names on a star in the sidewalk. Names included on the star were Don and Phil, Warren Oates, James Best, Merle Travis, Mose Rager, and some of the other talented people from Muhlenberg County who deserved recognition."

Brewer added that Phil had a big time just being here, and spending time with friends and family in Central City.

"I can never say enough good things about Don and Phil,” said Brewer. “They were just two highly
talented musicians who never let it go to their head."

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Paul McRee
SurfKY Reporter
Photos courtesy of Clarence Brewer, Sr.

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