Country Music Hall of Famer and Grand Ole Opry Legend Charlie Louvin died at 1 AM early Wednesday morning according to his son Charlie “Sonny” Louvin Jr. Charlie had been battling pancreatic cancer. Earlier this month Charlie had been in the hospital for a urinary tract infection and dehydration. He was 83.
Charles Elzer Loudermilk was born in Henagar, AL in July of 1927. As a teenager he formed a gospel duo with his brother known as The Louvin Brothers. They became official members of The Grand Ole Opry in 1955. Their tight harmony style inspired such acts as The Everly Brothers, and their influence can be heard in music across the spectrum.
Just this week, filmmaker Blake Judd of Judd Films and Keith Neltner of Neltner Creative released some photos of the production crew from a DVD project in the works that chronicled Charlie’s last live performance at Foobar Too in Nashville on December 3rd, the 50th Anniversary of The Louvin Brothers legendary album Satan Is Real. For the project, they interviewed Marty Stuart, George Jones, and John McCrea of Cake, again highlighting the wide range of Charlie’s influence. The day before his last performance, he made an appearance on The Marty Stuart Show.
Over the last few years, Charlie had found a resurgence of interest by a new generation of fans, and had announced his intention to perform at the Muddy Roots Festival in Cookeville, TN in September. Over the last few years, Charlie performed at the Bonnaroo Festival in 2007, and toured with Cake, Cheap Trick, and Elvis Costello. As Charlie reached the twilight of his career, grassroots institutions of the country music underground rose up to support him, like booking agency Bucket City, Judd Films, and Saving Country Music.
Charlie will be missed in the country music community, and from Saving Country Music, our thoughts and prayers go out to the Louvin family.