As part of the Country Hall Of Fame honored Louvin Brothers, Charlie wrote songs that shaped commercial country music in the ’50s and ’60s, and later left a mark on alt-country, being covered by Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, and Uncle Tupelo. Now approaching his 80th birthday, Charlie releases his first studio effort in ten years, a collection of Louvin Bros. classics and country standards that caught our interest for its collaborations with Elvis Costello, Jeff Tweedy, Lambchop (Kurt Wagner and Paul Burch), Bright Eyes (Alex McManus), and Superchunk, among others. Here, Charlie is joined by Will Oldham on the mandolin-colored traditional, “Knoxville Girl.”
Other highlights include “The Christian Life” with Clem Snide’s Eef Barzelay, a gorgeous rendition of a tune that’s also crept its way into The Raconteurs live shows, and “Ira,” about his brother whom he lost in a car crash in ’65. It’s the sort of record that even country haters can get behind, and though the guests got us on board, Charlie’s voice is the star. Louvin’s supporting the record (and celebrating his 80th) with a national tour, including a stop at SXSW. We’re hoping for a few cameos at that one.
Charlie Louvin is out 2/20/07 on Tompkins Square.