Norah Jones, a singer who personifies "smokiness", and Green Day bawler Billie Joe Armstrong might ruffle some Americana feathers with this "reinterpretation" of a 1958 Everly Brothers album, Songs Our Daddy Taught Us. Let them ruffle. These usurpers harmonise like an alt-country dream – who knew Armstrong could turn his hand to two-part folk-roots vocalising? – and, as a male/female duo, they take the songs to places Phil and Don couldn't. Backed by low-key drums, piano and pedal steel, the pair inject dark sensuality into folk staples such as Barbara Allen and Roving Gambler; further on, Jones's slow, sorrowing lead vocal on I'm Here to Get My Baby Out of Jail wonderfully conveys the pain inflicted by a perpetually errant son. As a bonus on that last, the backing banjo and violin reach a ragged crescendo, causing chills. More challengingly, the material inclines toward bleakness, with death, disease or heartbreak as standard; and the pace is unremittingly slow. Anyone feeling blue had best avoid the funereal creep through the murder ballad Down in the Willow Garden.
Review at The Guardian: HERE