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: Corb Lund finally returns
To say that a Corb Lund show was a rarity in these parts would be an understatement, but with a new disc, "Things That Can't Be Undone," dropping in two days, the Canadian roots/country artist is on the road - south of the border.
Lund lives on a farm in southern Alberta, Canada, near the Montana border, and has achieved popularity in his homeland.... »»»
Concert Review: Time makes a difference for Striking Matches
What a difference four months makes. When the duo Striking Matches debuted in Boston in late May, Sarah Zimmerman and Justin Davis capably showed off their skills, but somehow it felt like a lot of songs fell just a bit short.
Davis and Zimmerman tended to cut a lot of songs abruptly, never letting them breath enough or fleshing them out.... »»»
Country News Digest
Elsewhere in the news
Currently at the CST blogs
In the spirit of hard-hitting journalism, it seemed logical to ask Deslondes vocalist/guitarist Riley Downing the Mike-Wallace-from-60-Minutes question that has to be on everyone's mind: How the hell do you say the New Orleans-based band's name? "It's pronounced 'dez lawn,'" says Downing. "I know there's different ways that people have pronounced it over the course of history...... »»»
From their first, self-titled, major label release, the Allison Krauss-produced, "Nickel Creek," two-thirds of that trio - musical siblings Sara and Sean Watkins - have been in the musical spotlight continually since 1999. As for working with her brother off and on for most of their lives, Sara says, "We have been lucky...... »»»
Joey Ryan, half of acoustic folk duo the Milk Carton Kids, is girding his loins for the long trip from the band's Los Angeles home base to Australia. Although he's made this trip before, he's yet to acclimate completely to it.... »»»
Things That Can't Be Undone
While it is perhaps unfair to put too much focus on the producer of an album, the current weight of having a production credit from Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell, Jamey Johnson) is certain to garner notice from fans of high quality songwriters. Canadian artist Corb Lund decided to work with Cobb on his latest release, and the results are eye opening. »»»
To those with even only a passing familiarity with the history of bluegrass, the name of this young band from Florida is an obvious tribute to the pioneers of the music as exemplified in the person of the late, great Lester Flatt. Perhaps more than any other genre of American music, though, bluegrass has lent itself to acts for whom the music is the "family business." »»»