Charlie Louvin: 81 And Going Strong


Charlie Louvin photo courtesy of

Feb. 6, 2009 — Charlie Louvin is in an enviable position, and he knows it. He’s 81 years old and still performing well enough that he’s nominated for a Grammy award this weekend.

His project Steps To Heaven is up for Best Southern, Country, Or Bluegrass Gospel Album, just the latest recognition in a lengthy career that goes back to 1940, when Charlie and Ira, three years his elder, first performed live. Ira died in a car accident in 1965, but the Louvin Brothers’ harmonies inspired many of their fellow performers, and the duo entered the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001.

"I’m very fortunate, really fortunate," Charlie observes. "I’m singing for the great-great grandchildren that my brother and I sang to. We sang to their great grandparents, and they still like Louvin Brothers music. On my shows today, I’m sure I do half of my shows of Louvin Brothers songs. I’ve re-recorded a lot of ‘em, but if I’ve got a good tenor, we always strive to hit that mark. There’ll never be another Ira, but you have to go with what you’re given."

The Grammys showered a little love on Charlie and Ira indirectly five years ago when producer Carl Jackson picked up an award for the tribute album Livin’, Lovin’, Losin’: Songs Of The Louvin Brothers. The project had a busload of contributors, including Dierks Bentley, Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill, Dolly Parton, James Taylor and Alison Krauss.