Thursday, February 2, 2012

REVIEW: The Louvin Brothers - Satan Is Real

There's a lot of stress in my life right now. I am waiting to hear where I am headed for my next work assignment, and there are a lot of unknowns and fear involved-- no matter what, it's pretty much no good. I love where I am right now, but all good things must end. So I have been trying to do a lot of things lately. One is to just enjoy my life right now, even the parts that seem to suck (spending an hour to put my son to sleep every night, when my friends just place their kids in the crib and walk away) because I try to remind myself that I will never experience this time of my life again. Owen will never fall asleep in my arms as I walk him around singing softly, or yell "Dada!" as he hears the key in the lock when I come home from a (short) day of work.

The other thing I am trying to do is keep my faith that everything happens for a reason. Now I know that I can come up with lots of examples of things that seem to have no reason, and, ok, yeah, there are things that seem to make no sense in this world. But I try to have faith that things are supposed to happen, whether we understand them or not. I just heard The Roots "Dear God 2.0" last night (if you haven't heard it, you need to check it out) and it's all about having faith, and admitting how hard that is. Sometimes it's nice to listen to folks who clearly have some and aren't afraid to share it.

Artist: The Louvin Brothers
Album: Satan is Real
Recording #508

Stream the recording here

I used to think I hated country. Coming of age in the '90s, fully into grunge and alternative, with a dad who was into classic rock, country just sounded like twangy dudes, each playing the same song about their pickups and how their wife just left. Moon's book and the alt-country movement did a lot to remove that stigma (at least for the classic recordings he picked. I can't say I approve of most of what comes out of Nashville these days). I am still not a fan of too much twang, or slide guitars, or fiddles, or Toby Keith, or anyone who sounds too much like Toby Keith, but I no longer say "I don't like country."

The Louvin Brothers are about as country as you can get. Twang? Check. Slide guitar? Check. Simple chord progressions and steady beats? Check. But its got that old-timey style harmony and such wonderful melodies that it draws me in. And if nothing else, this album, from its title to its campy cover to the fervently sung lyrics, projects belief.

If you are an Atheist working your way through the 1000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die, at this point you might be a bit sick of all the religiously themed entries, and I'll admit, there are quite a few. I found this one to be a real highlight among all the rest, though. You can hear that these guys are unshakable in their faith, and listening to it really raises my spirits. One of the best is "The Christian Life," made famous by the Byrds (who I assumed wrote it with ironic intentions) but honestly sung better by the Louvins (who wrote it in earnest). I could put that one on repeat, but I'm just as happy to put the whole album on repeat. I just want to listen to Ira and Charlie Louvin sing these songs all day. Think you hate country? Don't turn off your radio, just change the year. The further back I go in music history, the more I enjoy "country" music.

Buy this album here
Read Moon's entry here

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