Chet Atkins' widow dies
Thursday, October 22, 2009
– Leona Atkins, who sang with twin sister Lois Johnson as The Johnson Twins and later married Chet Atkins, died at her Nashville home Wednesday morning after a lengthy illness at 85.
She was born Leona Johnson, near Williamsburg, Ohio. The Johnson Twins, who used pseudonyms for their first names (Leona was "Laverne," and Lois was "Fern) sang on Cincinnati's WLW radio in the 1940s.
Atkins performed on the station's Boone County Jamboree and met Leona. They married in 1946. Lois married Jethro Burns of Homer & Jethro fame that same year.
After her marriage, Leona Atkins did little performing, supporting her husband's career and raising a family. Chet Atkins died in 2001.
She had a role in the Garrison Keillor movie, "A Prairie Home Companion." He was a fan of her music, and when he wrote the screenplay, he added a sister act named Leona and Lois.
CD reviews for Chet Atkins
Guitar Legend: The RCA Years
Few musicians have had such impact, both as musician and producer, as Chet Atkins. But leaving aside one's feelings about his popularizing of the Nashville Sound, it's as Guitar Legend that this masterful picker is celebrated here. Two CDs and 50 tracks - 4 previously unreleased - display a stylistic versatility that his more mainstream albums never showcased.
The dazzling swing of "Canned Heat," supported by hot fiddle and accordion, give way to forays into R & B ("Tweedle Dee") and western »»»
Christmas with Chet Atkins
It's awfully hard to find fault with one of country's greatest guitar players playing 14 classic Christmas carols. On many tracks, Atkins is backed by The Anita Kerr Singers, but the focus is always squarely on the guitar.
The album opens with a buoyant performance of "Jingle Bell Rock," but Atkins quickly lays back to serve up a sweetly lilting performance of "Winter Wonderland." His electric guitar turns frolicsome again on "Jolly Old St. Nicholas," but on "White Christmas" he offers another »»»
Chet Atkins Picks On the Beatles
Out of the RCA vault comes this reissue from 1966, 12 songs clocking in atabout 30 minutes, but with Atkins you've got quality, not quantity.
That's because without vocals, hype or attitude getting in the way, the listener cansoak in a harvest of sun ripened guitar riffs that haven't lost any potentcy in 30 years.
True, Atkins is even more amazing now than back then, but hearing "And I Love Her" and "Things We Said Today" as only he can perform them is a timeless pleasure, complemented by »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk
When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: 19 years later, Harris returns with "Wrecking Ball"
At one point, Emmylou Harris told the crowd that she could not believe it had been 19 years since she released "Wrecking Ball." That was most understandable because based on this concert tour devoted towards playing the left of center atmospheric disc, the song bird has hardly missed a beat.
Harris' label, Nonesuch, just released a... »»»
Concert Review: Hurray for the Riff: more than just a great name
Hurray for the Riff Raff is one well-named group. Not that it signifies all that much musically, but at least it's catchy and makes you want to root for the underdog. With a lot to live up moniker wise, the band in concert - which, in reality, is lead singer Alynda Lee Segarra from New Orleans and her backing mates - more than lived up to the "pressure.... »»»
Country News Digest
Elsewhere in the news
Currently at the CST blogs
For 25 years, Gerry House spent every weekday morning in people's living rooms. As the host of the much-loved and much-acclaimed morning show, Gerry House and the House Foundation, House reigned on the airwaves on Nashville's WSIX-FM from 1983-2010, taking a brief hiatus to work for WSM-AM in Nashville and for KLAC in Los Angeles.... »»»
Expectations of being a "Carter Girl" - the way Carlene Carter refers to herself with her latest album title - must be extremely daunting at times. "It's as difficult as you want to make it," Carter explains. "I've always just embraced the fact that I was born into this family and very proud to be part of it." However, much like her mother, June Carter Cash, Carlene has always been a free spirit and fiercely individualistic.
To take a page from Judy Collins' notebook, Lydia Loveless has seen life from both sides now. After a childhood in tiny Coshocton, Ohio, a move to Columbus and a gig playing bass in her family's new wave/rock band as a teenager, Loveless set out on her own musical path at the age of 17. In 2010, the 20-year-old Loveless released her debut album, "The Only Man," which was critically acclaimed but just barely heard by the general public.... »»»
It might have been easier, and certainly less emotionally taxing, had Carlene Carter just recorded a batch of Carter Family songs using vocal muscle memory alone. However, as soon as you hear Carter describing the losses of loved ones during "Lonesome Valley," you realize right away this is not just some sort of capitalization on a revered family name. It's a personal testimony. »»»
Turn It Up
Josh Thompson's sophomore release, "Turn It Up" is his first on Toby Keith's Show Dog label. It seems to be a good match because both artists are cut from the same cloth. Thompson is also known as a champion of the everyman. Turns out they both have the same tendency to go over the top. Thompson excessively showcases the blue collar lifestyle the way Keith champions patriotism. »»»