Dream ... dream, dream, dream
The Everly Set to perform classic duo’s hits Feb. 16 at JPAC
JANESVILLE—It’s impossible to listen to an oldies station on the radio or on a streaming service without hearing one of the Everly Brothers’ hits in the first 20 minutes.
That might be a slight exaggeration. Don and Phil Everly had a string of hits that have become part of our musical culture. “All I Have to Do is Dream” and “Wake Up Little Susie” are the two best examples, but there are others.
At 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, The Everly Set will bring the music of the Everly Brothers to the Janesville Performing Arts Center. Audiences will hear all of their favorites, including “All I Have to Do is Dream,” “When Will I be Loved,” “Bye, Bye Love,” “Wake Up Little Susie,” “Cathy’s Clown,” “Walk Right Back” and “Bird Dog.”
The “Set” is made up of singer-songwriters Sean Altman and Jack Skuller.
Altman founded Rockappella, the a cappella group that might be best known as the house band and comedy troupe for the educational video game/TV show “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” He helped compose the show’s theme song.
Skuller started his music career by releasing his first single at age 14, and Radio Disney picked him up and sponsored a 15-city tour. He is now 23 and is continuing his career as a musician, singer and songwriter. In 2014, the Songmasters and the Songwriters Hall of Fame awarded him the Holly Prize in tribute to Buddy Holly’s talent as a musician, songwriter and singer.
Altman and Skuller first got together when they performed the Everly Brothers’ “Bye Bye Love” at a Simon and Garfunkel tribute show almost a decade ago.
“In years afterward, when we met, we would jam out on songs like ‘Bye, Bye Love’ or ‘Wake up Little Susie,’” Skuller said. “We ended up strengthening our repertoire of Everly Brothers songs.”
The pair never set out to create an Everly Brothers group, Altman said.
“We never got together and had a pow-wow and said, ‘Let’s put together an act so we can take in on the road and make some money,’” he said. “That’s what was so pleasantly unexpected. We sing because we both like to harmonize, and we both like the Everly Brothers.”
It helps, too, that both men are singer-songwriters. While many of the Everly Brothers’ hits were written by the husband-and-wife team of Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, the brothers wrote a number of their own songs.
Phil Everly wrote “When Will I be Loved,” which was a hit for the brothers, and an even bigger hit for ’70s pop star Linda Ronstadt. Don wrote “Til I Kissed You.” And both brothers wrote “Cathy’s Clown,” a hit for both them and country star Reba McEntire.
“We both (The Everly Set and the Everly Brothers) come from a songwriter’s mentality, and I think that’s why we really appreciate them,” Altman said.
The Everly Set always performs all of the Everly Brothers’ hits, and the group also does some Everly Brothers versions of such others as Carole King’s “Chains” and Merle Haggard’s “Mama Tried.”
The duo’s popularity has increased “exponentially,” Altman said, but Skuller stressed the pair is not a tribute act. He says they’re “not impersonators, but approximators.”
The show has a lot of audience interaction and becomes “its own kind of party” Altman said.
“We really feel like it’s a celebration of the Everly Brothers and their music,” he said.