Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Of Hillbillies And Harmonies

From left: Jeff Janulis, Edan Everly, Mike Cohen. Photo from the Everly Hillbillies Facebook page.

Note: A shorter version of this article ran in the April issue of the Illinois Entertainer

Local revivalists, The Everly Hillbillies, will be joining forces with the son of one of their heroes when they headline Rockabilly Rocks with Edan Everly on this Friday, May 3rd at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles. Everly, whose father Don and uncle Phil comprised one of the most influential duos in rock history, has made a name for himself as a musician and producer. He shares the same management as Everly Hillbillies founders Mike Cohen and Jeff Janulis, and felt a connection when they inevitably crossed paths.

“It’s always a blast playing with Mike and Jeff,” Everly explained via email. “The first time we played together was in the lobby of a Ramada Inn in Kentucky, until 3AM.”

“We played a bunch of songs together,” Janulis recalled. “We found out we had a nice blend of our three voices.”

For Rockabilly Rocks, Everly will be performing with The  Everly Hillbillies, which also includes drummer Tim Feil, bassist Mike Nathan, and guitarist Matt Szejda.

“Matt is a standout guitar player as well, as is Edan.” Janulis noted. “Sparks come off the two of them when they are playing dueling guitars together.”

“Our management had been looking for a venue to get the Hillbillies and Edan together,” Cohen said of the concert. “Arcada has been wanting to set up a rockabilly night, so it worked out perfectly. We’ll be covering the very best of the Everly Brothers, plus some surprises. It's an honor to play with Edan. Besides being an excellent singer and guitarist, he's a wonderful guy!”

There has also been some talk of Edan Everly producing a CD by The Everly Hillbillies, although at this point, it’s still in the planning stages.

“We’ve run some song ideas past Edan and started to get a feel for what material would best fit together for the collaboration,” Janulis explained. “Since Edan is based in Atlanta and tours a bunch, we also have to find times when everyone is available.”

Cohen and Janulis also anchor The Abbeys, a power pop band that has been around for over two decades. The two were introduced by Graham Elvis of the Chicago power pop band The Elvis Brothers, after Cohen had asked if Graham Elvis knew of any musicians who could sing harmony. As Cohen and Janulis learned to harmonize together, they used The Everly Brothers as a model.

“We’re blessed with a very similar timbre to our voices, and we had ‘the blend,’” Cohen explained. “Jeff and I continued through the years with our Abbeys band...occasionally peppering our sets with Everlys-related material.”

Janulis concurs that he and Cohen are grateful for the opportunity to meet and get together with Edan.

“We all have great respect and love for his father and uncle and their music, so it is an honor to play and sing these songs.”

Tickets for Rockabilly Rocks, which will also feature Cadillac Casanovas and Old Town Underdogs, are available at the Arcada Theatre Box Office as well as online.

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