Awesomely essential listening for anyone who loves American music

The Delmore Brothers, the Stanley Brothers, the Monroe Brothers, and the Blue Sky Boys were all undeniably great. But Charlie and Ira Louvin may well have been the best brother-and-brother bluegrass and country duo in the business.

This month, in anticipation of Charlie Louvin’s forthcoming autobiography, Seattle’s Light in the Attic Records is releasing a two-CD set that puts the Louvins’ best (and strangest) album, Satan Is Real, beside an artist’s-choice compilation assembled by Beck, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Mark Lanegan, Will Oldham, Kris Kristofferson, Graham Nash, M. Ward, Devandra Banhart, Lucinda Williams, and other Louvin Brothers fans. It’s a beautiful, extensively annotated package, and if you cue up the best songs (“The Christian Life,” which the Byrds went on to cover, is especially good), you’ll hear harmonies that would make a Beach Boy blush.

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Awesomely essential listening for anyone who loves American music