Charlie Louvin dies at 83
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
– Charlie Louvin, once one-half of the Louvin Brothers with a longstanding solo career on his own, passed away early today after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Louvin was 83 and died at his home in Wartrace, Tenn. surrounded by family.
Charles Elzer Loudermilk was born in Henagar, Ala. on July 7, 1927. Louvin started singing professionally with his brother Ira as a teenager on local radio programs in Chattanooga, Tenn., performing traditional and gospel music.
Louvin left in 1945 to serve in World War II. But the brothers performed again, moving first to Knoxville and later to Memphis, working as postal clerks by day while playing at night.
While steeped in gospel, the Louvins eventually played secular music as well. They appeared on the Grand Ole Opry during the 1950s becoming official members in 1955. More than 20 of their songs reached the country charts.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Louvin said, "I love harmonies with a passion," he said. "It's what I did with my brother for 23 years. I think a song that has singing should have harmony."
By the 1960s, Charlie and Ira's popularity was on the downslide. They split up in 1963. Two years later, Ira was killed in a car accident. Charlie continued playing solo until last year. He also continued releasing albums throughout his career. Louvin released a disc of classics containing one new song, a tribute to Ira, and a gospel album on Tompkins Square Records. IN 2008, he released two albums, including ""Charlie Louvin Sings Murder Ballads and Disaster Songs." Last year, Louvin put out "The Battle Rages On."
In 2001, the Louvin Brothers were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Louvin underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer July 22, 2010 and had declined in recent weeks.
Louvin is survived by his wife Betty, and three sons, Charlie Jr. (Sonny), Glenn and Kenneth. A private funeral for Louvin will be held in Nashville, on Sunday, Jan. 30.
More news for Charlie Louvin
CD reviews for Charlie Louvin
The Battle Rages On
Several years ago, a childhood hero hawked autographs during an old-timers game. Watching a once larger-than-life figure reduced to scrawling his name on penny cards for $20 was distressing, but the money was paid to a man who - it appeared - had no room in his life for false pride. The message was clear: he was doing what he needed to do.
That experience came back while listening to "The Battle Rages On," the latest from Country Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry member Charlie Louvin. »»»
Charlie Louvin Sings Murder Ballads and Disaster Songs
Charlie Louvin is an old pro, and the latter term is no less true than the former. More than four decades after his brother and singing partner, Ira, met his maker on a highway in Missouri, Louvin is still churning out albums, many of them with a gospel theme. He handles the material here quite capably, but the theme might have been better suited to Ira.
Louvin's arrangements are downright buoyant and, partly for that reason, the album lacks the visceral impact its title portends. »»»
Steps to Heaven
Charlie Louvin is back with one of the most straightforward gospel albums of his long, distinguished career, and hosannas are in order. At 81, he's hardly the same singer who elevated the art of tight harmonies with his brother, Ira, in the 1940s and '50s. However, collaboration is no less vital on this, his third studio album of the last three years(!). The Lord may have to wait a while to reclaim the younger Mr. Louvin.
Louvin is in fine voice, but it is the strident, starchy piano »»»
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: Size doesn't matter to Winslow-King
Luke Winslow-King may have a fine new CD out ("The Coming Tide") on a long respected indie country/roots label (Bloodshot), but that didn't mean the throngs were going to fill the club. In fact, in a second night of shows in the Boston area, Winslow-King drew a handful of people. Well, make that literally two handfuls of people.
As in 10 people.... »»»
Concert Review: McGraw has plenty of fight left
Despite the fact that Tim McGraw is five years sober, fit as a triathlete and touring behind a number one album, he is still in an unenviable position. As he approaches 50, McGraw has to stay a step ahead of the current crop of young country hunks with TV shows, cross format radio airplay and wider appeal. But as he proved at First Niagara's... »»»
Country News Digest
Elsewhere in the news
Currently at the CST blogs
Some folks listening to Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison's new duet album, "Cheaters Game," may well exclaim, 'Well, it's about time!' after finally hearing these two talented country singer/songwriters recording music as a pair for the first time. Willis has built quite a following for her independently-minded feminine perspective, while Robison has written hits for the Dixie Chicks (Travelin' Soldier
) and Tim McGraw and Faith Hill (Angry All the Time
), as well as penning the ultimate Willie Nelson tribute, What Would Willie Do?
and recording it as a solo act.
Last fall, singer/songwriter Steve Forbert dropped the 14th studio album of his 35-year career, the impeccable "Over With You." Critics recognized the album as a return to the form Forbert displayed on his earliest works - 1978's stripped back and personal "Alive on Arrival" and 1979's more lushly produced and commercially accessible "Jackrabbit Slim" - but the fact is that Forbert has never strayed far from their basic folk/rock tenets.... »»»
Over the course of the past 20 years or so, Jim Lauderdale and Buddy Miller have both experienced a certain rise in their respective rootsy country profiles. Miller has become one of Nashville's hottest speed dial numbers, as an artist, a guitarist-for-hire (a role he has performed for Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris and Robert Plant, among others) and an intuitive producer (he's currently working with Executive Music Producer T Bone Burnett to provide the soundtrack for ABC's "Nashville" television series).... »»»
"Wilderness" is another twisted menagerie of The Handsome Family songs. Once again, husband Brett Sparks sings their songs, sometimes in a bellowing gravedigger voice, after adding music to wife Rennie's lyrics. This time out, each and every tune is named after an animal, insect or other such nature creature. However, Rennie studies animals the way Flannery O'Connor wrote about humans, which is with the weirdness and character flaws in primary focus. »»»
Love Is Everything
George Strait may have reached his seventh decade, but he shows zero signs of slowing down. In fact, Strait seems to be getting even more consistent as he gets older. Strait doesn't stray all that far from the formula that has resulted in superstar status. First and foremost, that means his sonorous voice is mixed far above the music, a very good thing. »»»
Dark Dirty Mile
Jason Boland and the Stragglers have released a new country album that sounds old. This isn't to imply that the sound is aged in a negative way; they have a classic country maturity that isn't heard too much these days with the exception of Jamey Johnson. For those not familiar with the music of Boland, the first track is a great way to decide whether this is your kind of country music. The title track is a mid tempo country song reminiscent of the late Waylon Jennings. »»»
Lady Antebellum probably needed a change in direction after "Own the Night" dropped in 2011. The material was overly geared towards taking dead aim at the radio jugular. That isn't the case this time out on the trio's fifth release because most of the songs veer away from being obviously radio fodder (except for the current singleDowntown
with its soulful beginning and strong vocals from Hillary Scott), but that also doesn't man that this was the right change. »»»