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Archive for the ‘The Louvin Brothers’ Category

Just a Little Louvin: Classic Country Duo Rediscovered By Light in the Attic

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When the time came to fete the Louvin Brothers with a tribute album, the stars came out: James Taylor, Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Alison Krauss and Merle Haggard were just some of the artists featured on 2003’s Grammy-winning Livin’, Lovin’, Losin’: Songs of the Louvin Brothers.  All of those musicians had openly admitted their debt to Charlie and Ira Louvin, a.k.a. Charlie Elzer Loudermilk (1927-2011) and Ira Lonnie Loudermilk (1924-1965).  Though Ira’s untimely death curtailed what should have been a lengthy career, the music recorded by The Louvin Brothers between 1947 and 1963, roughly, still is influential today to any singer who has ever picked up the microphone to join another in harmony.  The brothers synthesized folk, gospel, bluegrass and honky tonk into a sound that was distinctly Louvin.  (They came from a musical family; their cousin John D. Loudermilk authored such songs as “Tobacco Road,” “A Rose and a Baby Ruth” and “Indian Reservation.”)

The folks at Light in the Attic are shining their light on these Baptist music-makers from Alabama who first began recording in the 1940s.  By the time of their signing with Capitol Records in 1952, they were already stars, and used the major label’s resources to focus their music in a more secular direction.  In 1955, The Grand Ole Opry welcomed them with open arms.   Though their music had frequent spiritual overtones, there was always a darkness lurking beneath the surface (or sometimes, on the surface!).  Older brother Ira fell victim to a drinking problem that finally caused his brother Charlie to walk away from the duo in 1963.  Both brothers continued to record as solo artists, but a drunk driving accident (ironically caused by the other driver) claimed Ira’s life in 1965.  Charlie lived until 2011, long enough to see the Brothers’ legacy embraced by artists of every stripe.  Light in the Attic is celebrating the Louvin legacy with four new releases: one 2-CD set, and three single LPs.

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Written by Joe Marchese

November 14, 2011 at 13:13