This just in from the folks at CMT:
Country Music Hall of Fame member Charlie Louvin will go on tour with Old 97’s, the alt-country band, to promote his new album, Steps to Heaven, to be released on Sept. 16 by Tompkins Square Records. Produced by Mark Nevers, the project was recorded with a gospel choir. The 81-year-old Louvin will also release another album, Charlie Louvin Sings Murder Ballads & Disaster Songs, on Dec. 9. In addition to his own albums, he makes a guest appearance on Lucinda Williams’ Little Honey which arrives Oct. 14. Louvin’s tour with Old 97’s begins Oct. 1 in Athens, Ga., and will hit Boston, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit and several other cities before concluding Oct. 12 in Newport, Ky. Louvin will travel to Woodstock, N.Y., to make an Oct. 25 appearance at Levon Helm’s Ramble, a performance series hosted by the former member of The Band. As the Louvin Brothers, he and his late brother Ira were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001.
Charlie Louvin??? O.M.G., First of all, his self-titled 2007 album (with Jeff Tweedy, Will Oldham, Elvis Costello, George Jones, and others) was my favorite record of the year. But that’s not the least of it. As a Louvin Brother, Charlie was part of a duo that pioneered the high-lonesome country sound. In 1955, they had a smash with “Cash on the Barrelhead,” (famously covered by Gram Parsons) the title and rhythm of which both inspired the Old 97’s “Crash on the Barrelhead.”
Then in 1959, he and Ira recorded, “The Christian Life,” for their album Satan Is Real (“the Rosetta stone of fire and brimstone country gospel”) which inspired and was covered by everyone from The Byrds on Sweetheart of the Rodeo, to the The Raconteurs’ live shows. Their tune “Great Atomic Power” was also an Uncle Tupelo staple from their third album, March 16-20, 1992. But that only scratches the surface, and the chance to see one of my all-time musical heroes on a bill with my all-time favorite band is crazy! Is it hoping for too much to hope we might see Rhett, or Murry, or even the Ranchero Brothers, show up for a song with Mr. Louvin in his set? Hey, a guy’s gotta dream, right?
Finally, don’t miss this new article on the Old 97’s, along with some great accompanying photos, up just today at SPIN.com. Cheers! – frank