The Louvin Brothers are musical heroes of ours, having rescued brother duet singing from obscurity in the 1950s and giving it another ten years of life. Charlie and Ira Louvin broke up their duet in the early 60s, Ira died in a car wreck, and Charlie went on become a country music star and Grand Old Opry member.
We met Charlie in Stearns, Ky., at the Coal Miners’ Jamboree, a very small venue. I don’t know why he was playing there, but our friends Joe LaMay and Sherri Reese were asked to open for him and they asked me and Chris to back them up. Beforehand we got to talk to Charlie for about ten minutes, and he was as I imagined him—nice, polite, but with a bit of a no-nonsense edge to his talk.
During our chat Chris mentioned that he sang tenor and enjoyed singing Louvin Brothers songs, so during his set Charlie called Chris onstage to help him sing “When I Stop Dreaming.” Quite a treat.
Charlie Louvin died in January 2011, after a brief bout with pancreatic cancer.