Charlie Louvin, R.I.P.
In 2009, Country Music Hall of Famer Charlie Louvin told tbt* that even at the ripe old age of 81, he had no intention of slowing down. This, mind you, was shortly before he was set to perform at Ybor City's New World Brewery -- a young man's venue if ever there was one.
"I love people, y'know?" he said. "I know entertainers who do their show and go hide. I don't do that. So I'll keep working as long as the good Lord gives me breath."
Louvin, who died Wednesday at age 83, was a familiar face in these parts, especially later in life. A member of the influential Louvin Brothers, Louvin was managed by Brett Steele of Steele Management in St. Petersburg (and the brother of the Mojo Gurus' Kevin Steele), and he performed multiple shows at New World Brewery, among other venues.
"Some artists' greatest contribution can be the influence they have over other artists," Brett Steele said in a statement Wednesday, "and Charlie’s reach was immeasurable, from The Beatles to Gram Parsons. While The Louvin Brothers will be remembered as one of the greatest country duos in the history of country music, Charlie’s solo career was just as successful and relevant.”
In 2007, Louvin performed an in-store set at Vinyl Fever in Tampa. The store is expected to close by next week, and throughout January, shopkeeps have been pulling out memorabilia from throughout the ages to display and possibly sell.
On Wednesday, the day of Louvin's death, owner Lee Wolfson pulled out a promo poster signed by Louvin. "Thanks to the gang at Vinyl Fever," Louvin wrote. There was no price tag -- only a sticker reading "R.I.P. Jan. 26, 2011," and Wolfson isn't sure he'll sell it.
Either way, he'll always have the memory.
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*. Top photo: AP. Vinyl Fever photo: Luis Santana, tbt*.