Livin’, Lovin’ Losin’: Songs of the Louvin Brothers is an exemplary traditional country, bluegrass and gospel album in tribute to one of the purist country duos ever to sing high and lonesome. The brothers, Charlie and Ira, recorded in the ’50s and early ’60s before Ira died at only 41 in 1965 – their reputation has been growing ever since.
An array of all-star duos take on the Louvin’s songbook, including Joe Nichols and Rhonda Vincent’s “Cash On the Barrelhead,” Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell’s gorgeously sad “My Baby’s Gone,” James Taylor and Alison Krauss’s “How’s the World Treating You,” and Vince Gill and Terri Clark’s up-tempo weeper “I Can’t Keep You In Love With Me” – great stuff all. The collection closes with the sweet-pickin’ bluegrass of Marty Stuart and Del McCoury on “Let Us Travel, Travel On,” and the blessed country gospel of Pam Tillis, Johnny Cash and the Jordanaires doing “Keep Your Eyes On Jesus.”
The Louvins have the O Brother, Where Art Thou factor going in their behalf, the Willie live album has spectacle in its corner – my heart’s with the Louvins, but my head says Willie Nelson takes the country album Grammy.
Be sure to check out the Louvins themselves – there’s nothing like the real thing.
Portions of this story originally appeared here.