The Louvin Brothers
Born and raised in Alabama's Appalachian Mountains, Charlie and Ira Louvin were a Close Harmony Brother Act inspired by many of the family-strung Country Folk bands of the 1930s. The Louvins influenced a number of country and Cosmic American Music artists including Emmylou Harris and The Byrds whose cover of the Brothers' "The Christian Life" is now a country cult staple. Charlie's passionate and watery melody tenor voice matched with brother Ira's pristine high tenor inflections so unusually well that the duo could easily weave in and out of folk, Gospel, pop, or hillbilly songs and still leave their signature sound up front. After being rejected nearly ten times, the Louvins were finally invited to join the Grand Ole Opry in 1955 where their fan base snowballed until they disbanded in 1963 to follow separate solo careers. Songs like the lighthearted "Cash on the Barrel Head" as well as the bible thumping "Satan Is Real" have become near standards of the No Depression generation. Ira Louvin died in 1965. He was killed in a car accident in Williamsburg, Missouri. Infamous for the artwork on the cover of their "Satan Is Real" album (featuring Charlie and Ira Louvin in a burning hell running from a hovering cardboard cutout of the devil), the Louvin Brothers sang in harmony like no other Brother Act. Their close-harmonies often birthed a ghostly third harmonic overtone that sounded almost as eerie as their spooky murder ballads. And perhaps their eclectic take on country music was what inspired such other twangy luminaries as Gram Parsons. If listening to the Louvins' blood curdling rendition of "Knoxville Girl" doesn't make your hair stand on end, check yourself into the nearest faith healer and be saved.