I’m well aware that most of today’s music lovers are probably not huge fans of old-style traditional country music, and I do understand that because for a long time I too dismissed it as ‘hillbilly stuff’. But I have come to appreciate it more and more through the years, not only because of the links to America’s past but also because a lot of it is just darn good music.
The Louvin Brothers were a vital part of the rich history of country music, and are still fondly remembered. They became famous as one of the best close-harmony duos of all time, and even though non-musical problems eventually interfered with their careers, their legacy remains.
Ira and Charlie Loudermilk (who later took the stage name Louvin) came out of the Alabama hills primed for a life in music, and first began to gain some notice in the post-war years as gospel performers. It was a type of music that would always be a part of their lives, but they would eventually win a lot of fans with everything from honky-tonk to country pop. Ira’s crystal-clear tenor and mandolin play fit perfectly with Charlie’s strong voice and guitar work, creating a sound that was very appealing.
They would eventually become country stars, appearing regularly on the Grand Ole Opry and in other venues, and would make and sell a lot of records. Unfortunately, things did not always go smoothly otherwise. Elder brother Ira was a troubled man, often consumed by alcohol and marital difficulties (one of his many wives shot him after he tried to choke her). The brothers ended up going their separate ways in the early 1960s and Ira died in a car wreck in 1965; just 41 years old. Charlie would continue to appear for many years, and would build an outstanding solo career before eventually retiring from music.