Sign up for newsletter
 

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: The Cadillac Three, Sellers do it their own way – The way The Cadillac Three lead singer Jaren Johnston told it, the band could have had their choice of opening tours this year for the likes of Kenny Chesney, Dierks Bentley and Jake Owen. No go though because the long-haired singer fronting the rough-and-most-definitely ready trio said the band wanted to do it their own way. Based on this most... »»»
Concert Review: Great songs, not glitz, highlight Lynn tribute – An eclectic group of Americana artists gathered together for a relatively low-key tribute to Loretta Lynn on the eve of the glitzy Grammy Awards. In contrast to the expensive dresses and song sets displayed at Staples Center for the awards show TV broadcast, these performers were backed by a skillful traditional country music house band.... »»»
Subscribe to Country News Digest Country News Digest      Follow Country Standard Time on twitter CST      Visit Country Standard Time on Facebook CST

Elsewhere in the news

Currently at the CST blogs

The Devil Makes Three examine salvation, sin For nearly a decade and a half, The Devil Makes Three has concocted an amazing blend of bluegrass, folk, country, blues, rockabilly and whatever happens to bubble to the surface, and applied it liberally to their songwriting ethic.... »»»
For Shires, home is where the family lies 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... ... »»»
The Earls of Leicester rattle and roar 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."... »»»
Notes of Blue CD review - Notes of Blue
Son Volt's "Notes of Blue" is said to be influenced by the blues (among other musical styles), and the blues is most at the fore during "Cherokee St.," a stomping, electric guitar-driven blues rocker. The song has the stripped-down sound of a Blind Willie Johnson sermon, although lead vocalist Jay Farrar is by no means the gravelly singer Johnson was. »»»
In the Ground CD review - In the Ground
The family band is a longstanding conceit of bluegrass and mountain music, including the Carters, the Osbornes, the McReynolds, the Whites, The Stanleys and even the progenitors of bluegrass Bill and Charlie Monroe. The trope continues to the present with The Gibson Brothers carrying on this tradition admirably. »»»
Brett Young CD review - Brett Young
Brett Young had a hit out of the box with "Sleep Without You," as ear candy of a song. His soulful vocals carry the percolating song that seemed designed with airplay in mind. If Young were a band, this is the type of song that Rascal Flatts might cover. In fact, the airplay bent could be said of most of the dozen songs on the Californian's major label debut after five indie releases. »»»