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: Mandell counts for a lot
Eleni Mandell doesn't hit you over the head - for the most part - with her songs. The LA-based singer/songwriter is on the low-key side when it comes to the music as well as her vocal delivery.
But her seemingly laidback style creeps up on you, making you want to listen.
And in a nearly 75-minute mainly solo effort with an acoustic guitar... »»»
Concert Review: Rucker brings true southern style
Not all that long ago, contemporary country music concerts were evaluated on the amount (or lack thereof) of authentic country music elements in the performers' content. And make no mistake about it, this is still a relevant issue since so much of what passes as 'country' these days is hardly that at all. But perhaps a more pressing... »»»
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.... »»»
Ashley Monroe gains more acclaim for other projects than she does for her own solo efforts. Monroe is one third of side group Pistol Annies. She sang with Blake Shelton on his hit "Lonely Tonight." She received praise for her first proper solo album, "Like a Rose," in 2013, although that was a release that stood on the strength of the songs because three singles produced zero hits. Can "The Blade" turn the trick? »»»
Australian songwriter Kasey Chambers has never managed to gain the profile elsewhere that she has Down Under, despite consistently releasing great albums as a solo artist and as a duo with her ex-husband. Almost a full year after initially releasing "Bittersweet," Chambers is giving the strong album an official U.S. release. »»»