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: Drive-By Truckers finds little to celebrate
While introducing "Guns of Umpqua," off the new "American Band" album, Drive-By Truckers' Patterson Hood wondered out loud - in a profanity-laced observation - why he can never seem to see a flag not at half-mast anymore. "We can do better, people!" he admonished the crowd. In an election year with two of the most... »»»
Concert Review: Simpson rides the night out in style
Sturgill Simpson came to Beantown with a deserved music reputation after three albums and a well-received, albeit quite adventurous release earlier this year, "A Sailor's Guide to Earth." He doesn't have hits per se or much of a commercial presence. His rep has been built on quality.
While the Kentuckian's first two discs... »»»
Country News Digest
Elsewhere in the news
Currently at the CST blogs
Mercy Rose Isbell recently celebrated her first birthday and, ironically, the album she helped inspire has just been released. Synchronicity is a beautiful thing. Mercy Rose is, of course, the daughter of singer/songwriters Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires, two of the most gifted Americana artists working today...
Something old is new again. The Earls of Leicester, fresh from their first release in late 2014 and the IBMA Entertainer of the Year Award for 2015, followed that remarkable success with "Rattle and Roar." The Earls of Leicester play the songs popularized by, and in the musical style of Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs.... »»»
In the nine years since Nickel Creek declared itself on indefinite hiatus, violinist/vocalist Sara Watkins has been relentlessly busy. She discovered a new pathway for her harmonic gifts with Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O'Donovan in the vocal trio I'm With Her.... »»»
White Christmas Blue
There are some "country" stars that can't seem to make true country music. Then there are artists like Loretta Lynn that can't not
create pure country music. Lynn's "White Christmas Blue" album may feel like a Christmas miracle to many traditional country fans. »»»
For Better, Or Worse
With "For Better or Worse," John Prine follows up his "In Spite of Ourselves" album with more male/female duets. And this one is a true A-list effort, as it finds Prine trading lines with the likes of Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves and Alison Krauss. Once again, though, Iris DeMent steals the show with the angry and sarcastic "Who's Gonna Take the Garbage Out," the same way she did with the prior album's title cut. »»»