Stories from The Road- Meeting Del Bryant (April 2017)
Zach, Dylan, and Burleigh (founders of the project) had the honor of spending the day with Del Bryant, songwriter, former CEO and President of BMI, and son of Nashville songwriters, Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, who are two of the greatest American songwriters of the 20th century, and have one of the most magical love stories I've ever heard. Felice and Boudleaux played a crucial role in The Everly Brothers' success by penning over 20 billboard charting hits including “Bye Bye Love”, “All I Have To Do Is Dream”, “Wake Up Little Susie”, "Bird Dog", "Devoted To You", and “Love Hurts.” They even wrote the state song of Tennessee “Rocky Top”. The Bryants have probably contributed more successful songs to the mainstream of music out of Nashville than any other songwriting team. Their output includes more than 6,000 songs, with over 1,000 recordings, which have sold over 200 million copies, and Del was kind enough to invite us into his home and share some of his parents original demos with us including songs that have never been recorded that were written for the Everly Brothers. He and his family are beautiful people, and they made us feel so at home. We are so grateful that they generously shared some of their family heirlooms and council in achieving our goals with this project.
Stories from The Road- Shenandoah Iowa (Shenfest September 2017)
At the end of 2015, Zach and Dylan along with their project partner/drummer Burleigh started piecing together The Everly Brothers Experience show with the intention of celebrating the pivotal sounds and immensely influential history of The Everly Brothers musical legacy. Since then, and with the irreplaceable support of their agent Rich Rees and friends and family, the journey has taken them to places and circumstances they never could have dreamed of. Here is one such example that occurred on September 22nd and 23rd:
Although The Everlys' moved several times throughout their youth, the brothers spent many of their formative years in Shenandoah, Iowa, with mother Margaret and father Ike Everly. At ages 6 (Phil) and 8 (Don) they started their professional career by cutting their teeth 5 mornings a week before school with their folks on KMA and KFNF radio from 6am to 6:30am, garnering a unique discipline and sense of values for community, music, and family in the country music scene. These formative years are among the important reasons why Don and Phil were, as producer and legendary guitarist Chet Atkins had referred to them, a 'cut above' the rest.
In 1986, 3 years after the Brothers reunited from a 10 year hiatus. Long time resident and avid supporter of Shenandoah's charming community, Bill Hillman, organized a homecoming for the brothers where they performed at The Depot Deli, they partook in a parade in the back of the same 50's cadillac convertible in their music video, "Always Drive a Cadillac," they were given the key to the city by Mayor Kaye Norton (2 of them so they didn't have to fight over who gets it), had a street officially dedicated to them, and where Bill took them around town to rehash childhood memories. All these activities contributed to a day Don and Phil said, "Will live in (their) heart(s) forever." They ended up donating a large portion of their shows proceeds to a scholarship fund for Shenandoah school students to give back to the community that gave to them.
30 years later, through the grace of our good mutual friends Sherry Davisand Sheryl Davis (avid music history preservationists) the Zmed Brothers got invited by Bill Hillman to partake in Shenfest. A festival to celebrate past and present Shenandoahan culture and to raise money for the restoration and preservation of one of The Everly Brothers childhood homes. They partook in most of the same festivities that the Everlys were part of in '86. So not only did they get to soak in the landscape, the quality of the people, and subsequently the culture in which the Everlys' attribute what largely taught them how to keep their heads on their shoulders and feet on the ground throughout their career, they got to interview and perform for Phil's high school graduating class of 1957 live on KMA radio, they got to perform a benefit concert for a cause that is in line with our original intentions for why they started this project in the Memorial Armory - the same building where the boys sang in choir, had their first high school dances, and where Phil played basketball and Don played with his first band (The Shenanigans), and last but not least.. totally unbeknownst to them, they were given THE KEY TO THE CITY by the same Mayor (Kaye Norton) who gave the Everlys' the key in '86.
To have been accepted by the proud community in which the brothers grew up in, a town of roughly 4000-6000 since the 40's, to learning intimate details of Americas most influential Rock n Roll sibling duos up bringing from classmates/friends/and officials, and to have been able to give their time to the community the Everly's grew up in overwhelmingly affirms and enriches the mission they set out to accomplish only less than 2 years ago.
For this absolutely singular experience that will holistically inform everything Zach, Dylan, and Burleigh do regardin this project from here on out, they owe their immense gratitude to the town of Shenandoah, Sherry and Sheryl Davis for their sleepless nights in helping organize Shenfest all in the spirit of historical preservation, to The Godfather of Shenandoah - Bill Hillman and his generous hospitality, and to all the kind folks who volunteered to make the event so special for them.
Special thanks to The Bird Dogs Band, Devon Clarke Geyer and Adam Cotton for accompanying us on the journey to Shenandoah, and also thank you to Ryan Pineda for capturing the experience on tape.. The Zmed Brothers are excited to release an in depth visual documentation of our time in Shenandoah in the year of 2018. Stay tuned for updates.
STORIES FROM THE ROAD - Meeting Julie Grant (October 2017)
We had the honor of playing for the great 60's pop singer Julie Grant, who actually toured the U.K. with The Everly Brothers, Bo Diddley, and The Rolling Stones in 1963. She was only 16 years old during that tour, while she had her hit 'Up On The Roof' written by Carol King and Jerry Goffin. You can see the picture of her in the advert and you can see her in the flesh on the left. She is the sweetest. Now, being a talent buyer, she welcomed us to the Wolf's Den at Mohegan Sun on the 20th anniversary of The Everly's playing there, and then a year later she welcomed us again at a lovely theater in Laconia, NH.