Gram Parsons always admired the Louvin Brothers. Brother Charlie Louvin pays homage to Parsons on this recording titled Hickory Wind: Live at the Gram Parsons Guitar Pull Waycross, GA. Recorded during the 2009 Pull in Parsons’ hometown of Waycross, Georgia, these 14 songs serve as Louvin’s tip of his hat to an old fan.
Parsons first saw the Louvin Brothers in Waycross when they opened for Elvis Presley in 1956. From that point on, Parsons learned songs from the Louvin’s catalogue such as “Cash on the Barrelhead” and “The Christian Life”, and played them until his death at 26. Louvin renders both of these aforementioned songs on this Waycross recording.
Louvin also covers Dorsey Dixon’s “Wreck On the Highway”, Johnny Cash’s “I Still Miss Someone” (Parsons also recorded that tune), Merle Haggard’s “Workingman Blues” and Bill Anderson’s “Must You Throw Dirt In My Face”. His voice understandably sounds weathered, but emotive as ever.
Louvin’s versatile band augments country, bluegrass and folk into one streamlined sound on this recording. Louvin’s rendition of Parsons’ original composition “Hickory Wind” stands as the soulful centerpiece on this collection. Parsons would be proud. In my interview with Charlie Louvin, I asked him about Gram Parsons:
“I never met Gram. I credit him with introducing Louvin Brothers to Emmylou (Harris). He told Emmylou I want to play you something. He got her to sit down and listen, and she asked who is that girl singing the high part? And he said that’s not a girl, that’s Ira Louvin. So, that’s how she met the Louvin Brothers music. She was very kind to us she cut four or five (songs). We’re still friends today, Emmylou and I. Her first number one song, the first release she had “If I Could Only Win Your Love” was a Louvin Brothers song. Gram introduced the Louvin sound to a lot of people because they tell me—it’s an Emmylou story—that Gram would pay people in California to go around to all these old record stores and pawnshops to see if they could find any Louvin Brothers music. He’d pay them for their trouble. I wish I could have met him...”
Hickory Wind: Live at the Gram Parsons Guitar Pull Waycross, GA serves as a majestic recording where the soul of man never dies...