story by Luke Brogden
photos by Bill Foster
design by Reenie Mooney
A completely thorough retrospective piece on the everybodyfields could get complicated.
It could involve discussions with a roster of players that at one point, according to Sam Quinn, was “nearing 30,” and a cast of hundreds of devoted local and regional supporters, reporters, deejays, and promoters.
It could focus on the charming backstory of two college kids meeting as camp counselors and forging a bond over their burgeoning interest in the old-time music that had emerged from their region generations earlier.
This piece could focus on the exciting early years of the band. For folks in the Tri-Cities, where the band got its start at ETSU in Johnson City, the everybodyfields has to include Megan McCormick, Dave Richey, Megan Gregory and others, and talk of the bluegrass program, the open mic nights, the early shows and the solemn, austere beauty of Sam and Jill’s harmony over an acoustic guitar, whispering bass and plaintive dobro on Halfway There: Electricity and the South and Plague of Dreams.
But for Knoxvillians, folks around the country and even some international fans, the everybodyfields is the Nothing Is Okay lineup, a feverish, swelling, emotive psychedelic alt-country group fronted by Andrews and Quinn and joined by Tom Pryor on lead and steel, Josh Oliver on keys and electric rhythm and lead, and Jamie Cook on drums.
On their seminal 2007 album, released on Ramseur Records, the band didn’t have to mine Appalachian and Southern Gothic folklore or history for their lyrical heartbreak as they had on previous albums; it was real and they were living it. The shows were epic and intense. The drama was high. But the tension in a band rising to its highest heights just as it was unraveling is not the full story here, either.
Enough has been written about all of these iterations of the everybodyfields that there’s no use explaining it all again. Heck, Sam and Jill wrote most of their own history for their listeners, song by confessional song. They wrote it in their between-song banter and on-stage glances. Most of the sticky stuff that anyone could have imagined has been confirmed here and there and long since dealt with, gotten over, emerged from. In the interviews for this piece, nothing that any of the former members said about the turmoil of their final days would surprise anyone.
The surprising and wonderful thing is that they all seem genuinely happy now.
The current state of the surviving members of the everybodyfields Nothing Is Okay lineup as they recently reflected on the band was one of rejuvenation, new beginnings, long-awaited and hard-won commercial success and artistic freedom, and a mutual fondness for and pride in the incredible body of work they achieved together.
“It’s pretty wonderful to be in charge of everything,” Jill Andrews says minutes after arriving home from picking up her son Nico, the subject of more than one gorgeous song in her solo catalogue.
“It’s tricky, but I feel like I’ve learned so much over the past few years.”
Over those past few years, Andrews has released The Jill Andrews EP (2009), and crowdsourced her first full-length solo album Mirror (2011), an ebullient, buoyant batch of songs that dealt with heartache and regret while simultaneously celebrating her son’s birth, her artistic self-determination and her hopefulness about the future. She appeared on songs on the first two Black Lillies records and continued to play live with Josh Oliver often by her side, and presided over several successful everybodyfields reunions.
She moved to Nashville and spent the last few years building contacts, playing and writing with everybody in town, licensing songs to hit TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Hart of Dixie, American Idol, and local hit Nashville, and releasing The War Inside (2015), a shimmering, powerful collection of alternative country, indie rock, pop and even touches of electronica. It’s her most modern, grandiose and accessible music to date. Don’t look for a recommendation; there’s not a weak song in the batch.
Andrews came through town last summer on her PushPlay house tour, in her oldest, most comfortable form-just her and her acoustic guitar. She was joined for a song by Cruz Contreras and teased the album and shared old favorites with an intimate crowd in a log cabin near Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge just outside of Knoxville.
She came through in October with her pro Nashville band and played the songs from the new record and blew away a capacity crowd with a new confidence, polish and swagger.
If any song of The War Inside is the anthem, the jubilant and triumphant “Free” seems to sum up the hopeful, confident, strong Jill Andrews of 2016 perfectly.
Within the last several months, she announced a collaboration with Buddy Miller on his Cayamo Sessions at Sea album, hosted a successful show at the Bluebird Cafe with John Oates, a Valentine’s Day release of a single with Langhorne Slim called “Sea of Love,” and a June release of a cover of Paul McCartney’s “Baby I’m Amazed” with Sam Bush.
“We get together and we write, and sometimes it makes us some money,” she says of her collaborations around town.
“I’ve kind of jumped into the songwriting world more just as a way to have another income stream but it’s really the same thing, and it allows me to be home. It’s been really good and a nice outlet for me in a lot of ways. I’m in a really good spot with a lot of things and I have a good balance with things.”
Before Nashville, Andrews says, “I was pretty naive about image and all that. I just liked to play and I liked to sing, and there was a lot of beauty in that naiveté, but I feel like I’ve grown so much in the knowledge of my business because it is a business and business requires branding. I enjoy it now.”
She’s taken charge of her image and built a team of photographers, music video directors, licensing folks, management and others that support and encourage her and help her realize her creative vision and make a living doing it.
“I feel complete creative freedom now. I feel really confident in my ability and I didn’t back then and I think it showed in some ways. Now I surround myself with people that I trust and people that are really encouraging and supportive.”
Looking back, Andrews likes to focus on how the everybodyfields made her who she is today, and as in past interviews, she shows open gratitude to her former bandmates.
“I learned so much while I was in that band. I learned how to play music, for one. And I learned how to write songs. I had done it a little bit on my own but I pretty much learned how to do it on stage.” Laughing: “I [also] learned a lot about what I didn’t want.”
It seems easy for Andrews to separate the different elements of what made the everybodyfields both difficult and wonderful for her.
“I think Sam is brilliant and I always really loved his ideas and have great respect for his creative mind…I think if we could do it over again, which is pretty impossible, without any weird romantic highs or past hurt, and we could just come at it again, just totally fresh, and at 19, I think it could be really cool. There was a lot of beauty in that band. Our voices together….I miss singing harmony.”
On reflection, Andrews also seems to miss the in-it-together feel of being in a band, the beauty and value of those years trying to prove themselves, saying, “We had each other. We didn’t know what we were doing but we knew we had each other. It was all okay because we were together.”
One the first things Sam Quinn did upon taking the call for the interview was to ask who else had been contacted, how they were doing and what they were up to. His endearing, genuine interest in the friendship aspect of playing music with people goes hand-in-hand with his easily observable penchant for improvisation and hijinks in the live setting.
“As it turned out most of these people really got along with each other well,” Quinn says of his time in the band.
“Really good attitudes, Jamie, Tom, Josh. Did some strange shows and then there were some really good shows where I was like, ‘I think maybe I’m a little biased but I think this is a really good band.’ Lots of goofing…some of the happiest times.”
But sometimes it seems like the stress of co-leading a band on the rise took the fun out of it for Quinn. His and Andrews working styles would clash, as was obvious to anyone observing, but like Andrews, he is very diplomatic and conciliatory in his retrospective view of the situation.
“Personally, things run their course,” he says at one point. “I know that it pissed her off when I changed all my parts on the fly all the time. At a certain part of our relationship it became communicating through opposites.”
One statement that seemed to perfectly encapsulate his feelings is how he describes what Andrews is doing now: “I’m glad she’s doing pretty songs,” he says, at once both completely genuine and, paradoxically, sarcastic. It seems he is genuinely happy Andrews is having success and making beautiful music at a high level, happy she’s doing what she loves, but the sarcasm comes up perhaps when he thinks of himself living that lifestyle, like it seems wholly unappealing to him.
He says for a while after the everybodyfields, his love of music–or at least his desire to do it publicly and for work– was in danger.
“There was a time where you have your cozy shirt that you wear at home,” he says, “and then you start wearing your shirt to work, and you realize you don’t wear that shirt at home anymore…and that’s kind of been my relationship with music.”
One of the most important things to Quinn, he said, was getting back in touch with that “13-year-old in the basement” who is a punk about doing things his way in the truest, most gleeful, whimsical, irresponsible way possible.
”It left me,” he says, “and then it came back in its truest form. I forgot, ‘oh yea’ I can do this.’”
For Quinn, this first came in a series of thrown together shows and bands and then on his first solo record The Fake That Sunk A Thousand Ships (2010) and then in King Super and the Excellents, where he made wild and weird costumed appearances, in his words, “deconstructing music…drinking beer and hanging out with guys and making terrible music.” The band was acclaimed for their fun party feel, unique cover choices and interpretations, tongue-in-cheek lyrics and experimental style on their 2013 LP Hammertime County.
That journey for Quinn seemed to have started back in the everybodyfields days, when they started adding layers of instruments, and a beat. When guitarist and pedal steel player Tom Pryor joined the band and Quinn eventually moved in with him, his love for the Grateful Dead and his improvisational style, among other influences, allowed Quinn to see the sonic possibilities in getting a little louder and looser.
“I wanna get loud. I wanna get weird,” he says of his feelings at that time. “That probably changed the band right there almost more than anything, just realizing that we didn’t have to be this cute little Tennessee 3-piece. We could actually have a sound and be something that nobody knew we wanted to be. We could get loud, guitar out, get kind of weird and then land it.”
For Quinn, the transformation took place fully as he did his own thing on his rich, confessional, densely layered solo work with Sam Quinn and the Japan Ten and Sam Quinn and Taiwan Twin, and in other hastily thrown-together shows and festival appearances.
“Occasionally a bar in town will have a band that cancels and then what happens from there is musician phone tree,” he explains. “Landing a thrown together gig has an integrity all its own.” His now annual X-Mas Debacle Christmas shows have become a celebration of this lo-fi, loose, jammy vibe.
“It kind of opened things up and kind of taught me that in the spirit of the moment anything can happen…Let’s just bleed for a second…just go off. There’s not a net in there…It goes to places and it’s like, ‘there’s people out there.’ Just flipping it over on the fly and watching people smile and going ‘oh, this is what’s happening.’ It just showed me a different brush with which to apply paint, like a distributive property.”
Quinn used this lo-fi philosophical mix of indie, punk and hippy jam ethos to throw together some new solo work and covers in a live cassette, To the Feet of the Gods (2012). He displayed it in liveandbreathing video collaborations with folks all around town at Rhythm and Blooms and Rhythm and Roots for a few years in a row. He played around town in tributes to The Band on Tennessee Shines and Neil Young at Waynestock 2014, showing off his vast knowledge and enjoyment of the music he loves.
Also, between 2009 and 2013, a series of official and unofficial everybodyfields reunion shows at those key regional festivals helped Quinn heal from past wounds and appreciate the body of work he and Andrews and the band had accomplished together.
“People think they know you so well if you are out and about…at the end of it, people around town are asking ‘Are you cool? Are you cool?’ And I was like ‘Listen, a**hole, you don’t know me.’ But when I look back without being too cool for school, I feel very proud of that band. I will stand behind it and curse people that speak ill of it in front of me.”
“We had the last show, we had the actual last show, and then we had the first reunion. And it was like, ‘this is getting difficult to explain.’”
“It’s really neat coming out in Bristol,” he says, speaking of the 2011 official reunion at Rhythm and Roots. “It was endearing to see all those people I hadn’t seen in a long time. Like I said, I am very proud of that bulk of work.”
All this not to mention that Quinn has taken on a serious new role in the past months: he is the new bassist for The Black Lillies as they tour in support of their fourth studio album, Hard to Please. Quinn says he’s been enjoying working with bandleader and primary songwriter Cruz Contreras.
“He’s a great arranger and talent,” Quinn says. “There’s a lot to learn and I learn something new every day with it. It allows me a lot of time to think about it while not executing my own material. It’s something I forgot I was good at, or could do. I was on the cusp of taking, what do you call it? A real job? And I got the call from El Capitan (his affectionate nickname for Contreras), and I went over and what I thought was a rehearsal turned into a [recording session]. It’s been a nice change of headspace.”
Quinn seems to enjoy the freedom of filling a role in the band for the time being.
“It’s a different part of your thing, it’s not like I’m trying to tell my story or emote something that’s incredibly personally important to me,” he says. “I just show up and do what I’m told. I reap less rewards but I have less responsibility. Just being around really good players you accidentally become a better player…and I am in the car with some really good players.”
Contreras was equally complimentary of Quinn at Andrews’ PushPlay house show, mentioning his desire to see Quinn writing with the group as soon as possible. Quinn demurred at the suggestion and said they haven’t had time, as they’ve been on the road full-time, but he looks forward to getting into that realm soon.
Some of Quinn’s last words on the significance of his musical relationship with Andrews:
“It was really just singing with her. Just understanding and getting to know, just to learn how one piece of it works. Just growing up with the gal was very special.”
Quinn is working on finishing his second full-length solo album Fear On the Leaving Wind. He played a solo show at Rhythm and Blooms 2016 but has yet to schedule more solo shows or a release date for the album.
“I think it’s even worse as far as sadness,” he laughs. “Just really trying to generate the bottom.” “Diamond Life,” one of the cuts from Fear, can be seen on the Legacy Parks Foundation’s site as Quinn performs it at Fort Dickerson Quarry. “It’s going to be a rough one,” he says. I can’t wait. That’s really how I have fun.”
Josh Oliver is an inner-circle friend and now longtime collaborator, who Sam Quinn says “has half my brain inside his head.”
But initially, back in Johnson City, Oliver was just a huge fan of the band.
An undergrad at ETSU while Andrews and Quinn were playing shows with Dave Richey and then Megan McCormick, Oliver started seeing the band around town and wearing out their first album Halfway There: Electricity and the South.
“With Sam it’s just super fun to play lead guitar or keys with his music or Jill’s, too,” he says, “because I was a huge fan of both of them before I started playing with them…so I was really familiar with them.”
“I love those first two albums a lot. I think when I first heard them it was in Bristol and it was just Jill and Sam and Dave. I think it was 2004. It was an awesome few hours there at Rhythm and Roots.”
Oliver kept showing up, drawn by the couple’s magnetic sound and dynamic, as well as the dobro and guitar virtuosity of Megan McCormick, who he calls “one of my favorite guitar players.” McCormick has her own solo career in Nashville these days, with IBMA-award-winning solo records and stints in Jenny Lewis’ band.
He eventually went on tour with the group for Plague of Dreams, ostensibly to sell merch, but before long he was on stage joining on keyboard. Eventually, he was a fully-vested member. He learned a lot from the already seasoned members of the group:
“I don’t know if I turned them onto much of anything, but they definitely turned me onto a lot of music that has influenced me a bunch.” He mentions bands like The Jayhawks, Wilco, and Uncle Tupelo. “They turned me onto Gram Parsons and the Flying Burrito Brothers and for a time I was just obsessed and would listen to it over and over again. They had been touring and had made a bunch of friends that I had never heard of.”
He mentions that the additions of Tom Pryor and Jamie Cook as the group hit their 2007 Bonnaroo performance made him feel like they’d really hit on something special. “I remember Bonnaroo 2007 and it was Jamie’s first show with us and just feeling really, really, really good,” he says.
From there the group continued to build momentum, getting attention from national media outlets like Paste, NPR and No Depression and playing the top festivals in the region. They did shows with rising acts like The Avett Brothers, who still occasionally do shows with Andrews and cover Quinn songs like “Magazines.”
Oliver didn’t comment on the behind-the-scenes tension between Quinn and Andrews but does have a unique perspective on the early days after the breakup, as he often played in both songwriters’ solo bands, sometimes in the same week.
“It was definitely a little weird at first,” he says. “Sam got started on his project first and we got going and then Jill got going and we started on some stuff later on. Some of the harmony stuff at first…it didn’t feel right, it was like ‘that’s Sam’s part.’ It was a little strange and a little uncomfortable for me at times.”
But he says he never felt forced to serve as a liaison or to choose sides–he was able to navigate supporting both friends as they struck out on their own.
“‘It’s kind of funny how it worked out. It seemed like when I was doing both things at once, somehow, I don’t really know how, but it worked out with scheduling where I never really had to pick between [them].”
The support of his friends encouraged Oliver to eventually start playing some shows on his own to make some extra money and fill the space the everybodyfields’ absence and cracks in Andrews or Quinn’s schedules created. He even released two solo records, Trouble in 2011 and Part of Life in 2014. He started with a heavier emphasis on folky reinterpretations of favorite standards with a few originals peppered in on Trouble, then added more instrumentation and originals on Part of Life with the help of friend Andrew Marlin from Mandolin Orange, with whom Oliver has been touring frequently for years now.
“Maybe I’m just self-conscious about it,” he says of his reluctance to do more with his solo work. He says most of what he does solo is at the encouragement of friends. “I kind of enjoy playing with other people a lot better than doing my own stuff.”
He enjoys working with Mandolin Orange for the chance to work with another couple with beautiful harmonies, he says, and he is currently on tour with the band. A playful Twitter post from Mandolin Orange’s account the day after the interview showed a freshly woken Oliver, supine in a hotel bed, earnestly studying a Book of Mormon.
Similar to Quinn, the official everybodyfields reunion at Bristol Rhythm and Roots 2011 was a beautiful experience for Oliver.
“That was probably one of my favorite shows that I got to play with them,” he says. “There’s so many people that just came from all over the country and we met them, and all the Tri-Cities folks that we knew there…that was a very exciting show.”
He still often plays with Sam in the aforementioned thrown together solo shows, and he too embraces the weird and the wild and the improvisational.
“These days when I do a show with Sam it’s kind of exciting…we’ll just show up with a group without a rehearsal and kind of cross our fingers and go for it with songs that we haven’t done in a few months, which usually turns out to be pretty fun.”
On the whole Oliver says his main feeling about the everybodyfields is gratitude to Andrews and Quinn.
“I’m super thankful that I got to be a part of that, because like I said, I was a huge fan of the band. I was 22 when I started playing with them and I got to see a lot of the country that I wouldn’t have gotten to otherwise and I got to meet a lot of people playing with them. I met Andrew and Emily (of Mandolin Orange) through the festivals I was playing with Jill. I’m thankful Sam and Jill gave me the opportunity to be a part of it.”
His playing Dead music constantly for Quinn when he moved in with him around the time of Nothing Is Okay had a major impact on the band’s move into psychedelia, something Quinn had already been toying with in his mind.
“We lived together for a while there, I guess right around the time I joined the band and I immersed him like I do everyone around me,” he says. “I can’t help it. I definitely play it a lot so if you end up in car or hanging out, you’re probably going to hear it.”
Pryor, like many Dead fans, hesitates when asked to name a favorite Dead album, preferring instead to categorize their work by live show recordings.
“The albums are fun but they just don’t quite capture the essence of what they were really all about,” he says. “Some shows are a lot better than others and some are frankly really bad but that’s part of the beauty about it, they are just regular folks singing a little off key and falling down sometimes.”
He doesn’t take full credit for the band’s change but does acknowledge that he and Quinn got involved at a time when both were receptive to that kind of music.
“He has always been a great singer-songwriter,” Pryor says, “and I feel like he was heavily influenced by Neil Young and it all just kinda flows together. I would say Sam was already pretty well-versed in psychedelia when we met. But we have had a good influence on each other.”
“He’s been a lot of fun to play with since he’s been doing his own thing,” Pryor says of Quinn post-everybodyfields. Pryor has joined Quinn on several all-star Knoxville jams including a yearly sojourn back to Knoxville from his new home in New Mexico for Quinn’s XMas Debacle. “I always look forward to those,” he says.
Pryor was involved in most of the lead work for Quinn’s first solo record The Fake That Sunk a Thousand Ships (2010) and expressed interest in working with him further in the future. “I’d like to be involved in anything he does,” says Pryor.
Pryor also says he’s enjoyed watching Quinn’s artistic renaissance since then in solo work, King Super and his recent addition to the Black Lillies lineup shortly after Pryor and Jamie Cook’s departure. “He’s been just a real pleasure to be around. He definitely has different facets. The solo stuff is pretty gut-wrenching and the next night he can be jumping around with King Super and you’re like ‘who is that?’”
Pryor was a busy man for a few years, on the road supporting four albums between the everybodyfields and The Black Lillies. These days, he’s setting up shop in Taos, New Mexico with his girlfriend, singer-songwriter Marisa Ireland. Folks might have seen her join Pryor and Cook onstage at Rhythm and Blooms 2014 or seen her in a stint as a harmony singer for Marina Orchestra, notably onstage at Waynestock 2015.
Pryor has a day job with a land surveying company that gives him stability, and he’s had his share of the road for the time being, but says he’s playing frequently with a local jam band called Last To Know, enjoying the improvisational jam grass and staying sharp on guitar and lap steel. “It was a perfect fit and very easy transition,” he says. He’s also giving ukelele lessons.
“It’s funny to say, but I didn’t really know them before I played with them,” says drummer Jamie Cook. “I kept waiting for some doorman to say, ‘you’re not in the band.”
“But when you’re on the road with them,” he says, “My music friends are my closest friends. There’s something that you share and bond over on the road.”
Cook came last to the band in summer 2007, and with Pryor, helped add that drive and swing that brought out the emotive quality of the songs even more. Several other members of the band cite his first show with them as the moment they realized the full potential of what they were doing.
“That was a pretty eye-opening experience and all that was pretty new to me,” he says. “I was like ‘okay, this is how this goes.’ I’d never done anything like that before, but I do remember, playing at Bonnaroo, this feeling that something was really working. I remember playing that song ‘By Your Side,’ and there was this real feeling in the crowd.”
Cook, perhaps more than the others, acknowledges the effect of the hard times between Quinn and Andrews on the rest of the band.
“There were some nights that I just kind of wanted to sneak out the door and take a bus home. Sam knew it and Jill knew it.” But he said the situation didn’t always allow resolution. “We would be like ‘We gotta keep playing; we’re in Cleveland.’”
He explains that not everyone understood the situation but that everyone knew they had something special on stage and in the studio, so it was difficult to imagine giving that up even when things got uncomfortable.
“Sam and Jill had such a history together before I ever knew them. So I was never really sure how all that worked and who was doing what. There seemed to be a lot of tension there but I wasn’t really let in on why they were doing it…I think they were both just trying to hold on and make it work since they had both put so much into it.”
But like Quinn and Oliver, the 2011 reunion show at Bristol Rhythm and Roots had the same cathartic feeling of celebration and closure. “Another really glorious moment in history was that first reunion show at Bristol Rhythm and Roots. The feeling of that show was really amazing. I think it surprised all of us.”
“We’re still friendly, there was no problems there.”
In fact, Quinn lived with Cook for two years following the split up of the band. He says they have both been able to commiserate at different times about feeling burned out on music. “Sometimes you need a break from it all to get your stuff together and get a little hungry again…I kept telling him, ‘You’ve got to get out and play,’ but he said to me ‘I don’t have to do anything.’” When Quinn was ready, Cook eventually played drums on his first solo album The Fake That Sunk A Thousand Ships (2010).
Cook went on to tour with the Black Lillies behind their first three albums, departing just before Hard to Please (2015).
He says he understands Quinn’s sentiments even better now after years on the road and his mother’s recent passing caused him to question what he was doing and ultimately leave The Lillies. At Rhythm and Roots 2014, he felt like it was time to rest. “That was kind of the point that I gave up on everything. ‘This isn’t what I want to do. I don’t know where it’s going to take me.’”
Cook has some strong solo material that he’s released under the Blue South name on a 2008 EP called Draft Book 1. He played solo songs at several area festivals including Rhythm and Blooms 2014, where Live and Breathing took video of his songs “At 35” and “Up All Night” as he was accompanied by Pryor and Ireland. His songs take on a more heady, jazz-inflected indie sound than some of the others’ solo projects. He hasn’t done much with it lately though, saying “I kind of lost my feel for it all. I have tons of material I need to get out but I couldn’t really find people to play with that seemed to be on the same page that I was.”
He says he doesn’t feel the pressure to do a lot with his music publicly anymore. “I don’t really have anything to prove to anyone else at this point,” he says. I tend to write songs for me. I’m not interested in this whole ‘look at me, look at me’ thing.”
He still plays around town occasionally with The Lonetones and Paul Lee Kupfer. He says he almost prefers to sit in the back and play drums that serve the song. “I can play all kinds of stuff but it’s like, ‘what does the song need?” he says. “It needs to serve the tune in whatever your band is going for. I don’t mind being the follower as long as I can believe in what’s going on.”
Despite being happy to have the everybodyfields and The Black Lillies experiences behind him, Cook says he treasures the experiences and the relationships he forged in both bands. “I always say they’re my brothers and sisters and I still feel that way.”
“Gentle On My Mind”
Allun Cormier, a Bristol singer-songwriter, guitarist for Folk Soul Revival, and close friend of the everybodyfields from ETSU days, passed away tragically in late 2010, in a house fire in the early morning hours. Cormier and his girlfriend had just been at one of Andrews’ solo shows at a downtown Bristol loft.
The recently broken-up everybodyfields came together for a hasty unofficial reunion gig at Cormier’s post-funeral celebration/wake at Machiavelli’s in downtown Bristol, helping salve the wounds of grieving music fans, friends and fellow musicians, while cathartically grieving themselves and celebrating their old friend. Cormier was known for the mischievous twinkle in his eye, his passion for music and his friends, and his incredibly soulful guitar playing and his emotive singing, a whiskey-drenched, bluesy Appalachian form of Soul.
“He was a really fun guy,” said Pryor.
In the spring, musicians from around the area paid tribute to Cormier in a special concert at the Paramount Theatre in downtown Bristol. Members of the everybodyfields, including Pryor, Cook and Quinn, were among the musicians onstage playing through favorite Cormier originals and standards.
Fittingly for their relationship with Cormier, Pryor led a stirring rendition of John Hartford’s “Gentle On My Mind.”
For most of the everybodyfields, that song, about a rambler who’s been gone but knows his feelings with his sometime lover will always be there, seems to be an apt description of their relationships with each other and their old music.
They may be miles apart, they may only get together occasionally, some may have had their differences, but the everybodyfields all seem to be gentle on each other’s minds.