Charlie Louvin dies; country singer inspired Johnny Cash, Elvis Costello
Charlie Louvin, 83, the country singer and Grand Old Opry performer who, as half of the duo The Louvin Brothers, influenced such later performers as the Everly Brothers died at his home in Warface, Tenn. from complications of pancreatic cancer.
The Louvin Brothers songs were later covered by such diverse performers as Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Elvis Costello and the Byrds,
They also updated many traditional -- and very morbid -- folk songs such as "In The Pines" and "Knoxville Girl" which were both included on their 1956 early concept album for Capitol, "The Tragic Songs of Life."
The Louvin Brothers' style evolved from the popular close harmony brother duos of the 1930s such as the Delmore Brothers, the Monroe Brothers and the Blue Sky Boys (Jim and Earl Bolick).
While the duo preserved the singing style of the earlier groups, they made it popular for 1950s audiences by adding electric guitar solos, many by a young Chet Atkins, and a driving beat from an upright bass. Ira Louvin's mandolin work also gave the duo a connection to the then evolving bluegrass genre.
After the duo disbanded in 1963, Mr. Louvin continued to record as a soloist and was a regular on the Grand Ole Opry into the next decade including a number one hit in 1966, "See The Big Man Cry. " Mr. Louvin's brother Ira had a much shorter solo career. He died in a car accident while touring in 1965.
As interest in the early Louvin Brothers material increased, Mr. Louvin had a recent resurgence in activity with performances at rock clubs and bluegrass festivals.
He continued to record and perform after his cancer diagnosis. His most recent album, "The Battle Rages On," was released in November.
A full obituary will follow.
| January 26, 2011; 12:46 PM ET
Tags: Charlie Louvin, Johnny Cash, Louvin Brothers
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