The Everly Set, a tribute band to The Everly Brothers, will bring to life two dozen of the biggest hits of the ‘50s and ‘60s as the group kicks off the Kokomo Community Concerts season on Sunday, Sept. 15.
Led by an unlikely pairing of two men more than three decades apart in age, The Everly Set proves that music of the Everlys transcends decades. In 2010, Sean Altman, a former mid-level kids TV star with a recent hip replacement, met a young Jack Skuller, who was 14 at the time, and discovered they both were superfans of The Everly Brothers.
Five years later, when Altman was an “official card-carrying member of the AARP,” Altman and Skuller had a full-fledged tribute band of their own. And it was, surprisingly, a hit. Initially, the two only intended to perform the Everly hits for a one-off gig in Manhattan.
“We bonded over the fact that we were both singer-songwriters who happened to be huge Everly fans, and our voices blended really nicely,” Altman said. “ … We formed The Everly Set as a lark just because we loved singing the songs and harmonizing with each other. We had no idea there was even a market; we and our booking agent are most pleasantly surprised.”
The pair isn’t oblivious to the obvious age difference — in fact, for their own amusement and to their audiences’ delight, they said, they play to it on stage.
Altman joked that Skuller, 23, teaches him about social media, things like “Facebook, Instabran, and Snapcrap,” while he teaches Skuller about “cholesterol, arthritis, and salt intake.”
“Seriously, though, the three-decade-plus age disparity is an endless source of amusement to us and our audience. Jack has me hooked on intermittent fasting, and I have him intrigued by intermittent reading,” Altman said.
Aside from the jokes, the two take the music seriously. The Everly Brothers, which formed in 1951 at the hands of Don and Phil Everly, boasted 35 Billboard Top 100 singles, 26 of which were in the Top 40, and the duo holds the record for the most Top 100 singles of any duo. In 1986, the brothers were one of the first 10 artists inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That same year, they received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In 1997, the Everly Brothers were awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, followed by inductions into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004.
Altman stressed the fact that the brothers inspired many of the biggest names in music, including The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, The Beach Boys, The Hollies, The Eagles, Peter Paul & Mary, The Bee Gees, and Bob Dylan.
During The Everly Set’s concert, audience members will hear two dozen of the brothers’ hits, including “Bye Bye Love,” “Wake Up Little Susie,” “Cathy’s Clown,” “All I Have To Do Is Dream,” “When Will I Be Loved,” “Crying In The Rain,” “Love Hurts,” “Bird Dog,” “Claudette,” and “Let It Be Me.”
While The Everly Set is a tribute band, Altman and Skuller aren’t impersonators.
“We’re not impersonating the Everly Brothers; we’re approximating, which is a subtle but critical aesthetic difference. No wigs, no phony accents, no bad acting: just two devoted Everly fans leading the audience on a celebratory journey through Phil and Don’s classic repertoire, replete with history about Phil and Don,” Altman said.
Skuller said he and Altman take pride in the fact that they’re able to be themselves on stage while sharing their love for the Everlys.
Despite Skuller’s young age, he’s earned respect in the music industry. He released his first single at age 14 on Bar/None Records and two singles on Walt Disney Records. Radio Disney sponsored a 15-city tour for Skuller, where he received attention from such outlets as Consequence of Sound, Teen Vogue, and American Song Writer.
In 2014, he was awarded the Songwriters Hall of Fame Holly Prize. In 2015, Seventeen magazine featured Skuller in the “Hot Guy Panel.”
Altman also boasts a long history in the music industry. Altman, who’s been called “the father of modern a capella,” founded the vocal group Rockapella and led it through its prime on the Emmy-winning PBS series “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?”
The Everly Set will perform Sunday, Sept. 15, at 2:30 p.m. at Kokomo High School Auditorium. Individual show tickets are available at the door for $20, for Kokomo Community Concerts season tickets can be purchased for $50, which includes six shows.
Season tickets can be purchased by calling the ticket hotline at 765-210-0686 or emailing email@example.com. Season tickets also can be picked up at Big Ben Coffee, Windmill Grill, Comprehensive Planning Corp., Frittatas, Choo Choo McGoo’s, and Herbst Family of Pharmacies. Students are admitted free. Students are asked to contact KCC for the free tickets that will be available at the will-call desk the day of the show.