Even though their music was labeled as Rock and Roll the Everly Brothers performed on the Grand Ole Opry and were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001. Their influence reached out well beyond their Muhlenberg County Kentucky beginnings - as far as Liverpool, England where the Beatles once described themselves as "The English Everly Brothers."
Although the Everly Brothers were not known for performing Bluegrass Music, they were clearly influenced by it and some of it's star performers - mostly another brother act, The Louvin Brothers.
In the biographical book about the Louvins, "Close Harmony" by Charles Wolfe, the Everly Brothers are described as "The Louvin Brothers polished and commercialized for the urban market."
Brother Duets are a staple in Bluegrass Music and our current International Bluegrass Music Association Entertainers of the Year are a group focused around a brother duet - The Gibson Brothers. We asked Eric Gibson if he would be the voice of bluegrass with regard to the Everly Brothers and reflect upon just what their style and their sound has done for bluegrass and for all music.
Eric Gibson sums it up nicely for the Gibson Brothers:
We are saddened by the loss of Phil Everly. The influence of the Everly Brothers is widespread. I believe they carried the brother duet thread set in motion by the Monroes, Blue Sky Boys, Delmores, Louvins, etc. to the masses. You can hear the Everly influence in John and Paul's duos with the Beatles and that band surely influenced just about everything that has come since. So many bluegrass and country acts have recorded their beautiful songs. Leigh and I worked up one of their songs for our first concert of the New Year on Friday at the Jekyll Island Bluegrass Festival having no idea that Phil was ill. We had been prodded for years to sing Everly songs, but for some reason had never worked one up for stage. The response was wonderful. We should have listened to the fans' advice sooner. Don and Phil certainly have contributed a catalog of timeless songs that will be sung through the ages, I'm convinced.