Livin’, Lovin’, Losin’

I’ve been collecting music through my subscription to MusicMatch (crummy software, great subscription service). Musicmatch offers 99 cent song downloads, and I tried it once, but the download came with DRM (digital rights management) restrictions, and I couldn’t load the song on my mp3 player so whats the point?

So instead, I stream music selections from the service, and record the streams to mp3 files in the background on my PC, sometimes at work, sometimes at home. Then I cut the mp3 files into 15-20 minute pieces, and load them on my mp3 player and listen in the car. I’ve collected quite a bit of music this way over the last few months, and the quality is only partially compromised; still better than FM radio, but not quite CD quality.

Anyway, the point of all this is, prior to our Nashville trip, I was looking for Rhonda Vincent music, and Musicmatch pointed me to her contribution to a tribute album called “Livin’, Lovin’, Losin’: Songs of the Louvin Brothers”. The Louvin brothers were an influential gospel/country duo who were earlier similar in style but not nearly as well known as the Everly Brothers. They didn’t have any pop hits, but were on the country charts in the late 50’s and early 60’s. [They are also remembered for the flamboyant album cover art pictured here.] I went ahead and recorded the whole album from the musicmatch stream. Later in rotation on my mp3 player, the songs kept impressing me; they were outstanding vocal duets with an old-fashioned flavor, but with a 21st century studio production quality. And many of the vocals sounded familiar. So I went back and looked up the album to see who was on it. Wow: Alison Krauss, James Taylor, Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill, Marty Stuart, Linda Rondstadt. Three of the contributors were onstage at the Grand Ole Opry when we went last month. And the reviews for this compilation are tremendous. The Alison Krauss/James Taylor duet got some airplay on CMT when it was released in 2003, but I don’t remember it.

I recommend the album highly, there are no clinkers like with the “O Brother” phenom. Many of the songs are about heartbreak, but there are other “country” themes, and some gospel numbers as well. The material reveals the bluegrass, gospel, and blues influences on country music without the overproduction and pop flourishes common to county music today (Garth, Faith, Toby, Shania, etc.) Audio clips are available on the site.

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