Demand it on Vinyl:
The Louvin Brothers, Live from the Grand Ole Opry in stores 8/23

VIA PRESS RELEASE | The Louvin Brothers—Ira and Charlie—were one of the great family close harmony acts that did much to shape the sound of Country music in the fifties and sixties.

Like just about any Country music act of note from that era, their off-stage lives were permeated by fraternal fallings-out, spousal abuse, alcoholism and violence. However, on record and in concert, the brothers managed to produce an ethereal sound that couldn’t help but move their listeners. By Charlie Louvin’s own account, people who saw the Louvin Brothers perform were mystified by the experience. Ira Louvin was a full head taller than his younger brother, played the mandolin like Bill Monroe and sang in an impossibly high, tense, quivering tenor. Charlie strummed a guitar, grinned like a vaudevillian and handled the bottom register. But every so often, in the middle of a song, some hidden signal flashed and the brothers switched places—with Ira swooping down from the heights, and Charlie angling upward—and even the most careful listeners would lose track of which man was carrying the lead.

This was more than close-harmony singing; each instance was an act of transubstantiation. “It baffled a lot of people,” Charlie Louvin explains in his revealing memoir. “We could change in the middle of a word. Part of the reason we could do that was that we’d learned to have a good ear for other people’s voices when we sang Sacred Harp. But the other part is that we were brothers.”

The Louvin Brothers influence can be found in artists as varied as The Byrds, Everly Brothers, The Lemonheads, Nirvana and countless other acts. This CD—which features performances recorded at the Grand Ole Opry in 1962 and 1963, shows the magic of their close harmony style, the other-worldliness of their voices. It’s beautiful stuff.

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