Charlie Louvin, country legend, passes at 83

Charlie Louvin, country legend, passes at 83

Consider the Everly Brothers, consider the Delmores and of course, the Louvins; it seems near impossible to replicate the hauntingly close vocal harmonies of sibling singing duos.

In this respect, and with consideration of their skin-prickling Baptist-influenced songs warning against the sins of inebriation and murder, Charlie and Ira Louvin have become perhaps best known and beloved by those who appreciate their often dark take on gospel and country, and over the years proved a heavy influence on Gram Parsons, the Byrds, Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Allison Krauss, and more.

Charlie Louvin passed away this morning at the age of 83 after a struggle with pancreatic cancer.

Ira, the elder Louvin Brother, was killed by a drunk driver in 1965, shortly after the inimical dissolution of the band. He himself had a warrant against him at the time for drunk driving, as well as a sordid history that involved drunkenness, smashing mandolins onstage, being shot in the back by his third wife after attempting to strangle her with a telephone cord, and, according to his brother, attempting to strangle a young Elvis Presley, opening for them on tour at the time, while dismissing his music as "trash" and reportedly using a racist epithet.

Charlie led a more peaceful life, married for 61 years to his wife Betty and over the years quietly releasing a number of albums, collaborating with the likes of Elvis Costello and Jeff Tweedy, and touring with everyone from Cake to Cheap Trick. In November 2010 he released his last album, The Battle Rages On, an emotional collection of war songs dating back to the American Civil War.

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