Various Livin' Lovin' Losin': Songs of the Louvin Brothers

A proper tribute to Charlie and Ira Louvin has been long overdue, since the bluegrass legends have been a direct influence on Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris and virtually everyone else who has come along since. Unlike other classic bluegrass combos, the Louvins were known more for their groundbreaking songwriting and harmonies rather than their instrumental prowess. For this reason, their work has better stood the test of time and this set proves there’s still a lot to discover in their rich catalogue. Making things even more interesting is the choice to pair up all of the artists in order to maintain the integrity of the original duets. So here we have new-grass hotshots Joe Nichols and Rhonda Vincent tearing up "Cash on the Barrelhead,” Emmylou and Rodney Crowell reuniting for a gorgeous "My Baby’s Gone” and Merle Haggard and Carl Jackson doing "Must You Throw Dirt In My Face,” a typically unconventional Louvin notion. But for every great song revived here, there is another that was overlooked. And of course, there’s nothing like hearing the real thing, so go out and get Tragic Songs of Life and the all-time classic Satan Is Real to get a better picture on what the Louvins meant to American music. You can thank me later. (Universal)