The Battles Rage On

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In the mid-1950s, Charlie Louvin began a brilliant career as one-half of the now-legendary Louvin Brothers (with brother Ira). But for Charlie, who set music aside to serve in both WWII and the Korean War, military duty came before personal success. Now 83, Charlie has long outlived the era of gung-ho patriotism and pervading Christian beliefs that characterized the Louvins’ 1962 album, Weapon of Prayer. But his staunchly traditional values—musical and otherwise—haven’t wavered. His new collection is a partial remake of Weapon of Prayer, armed with other mostly vintage-era songs that unapologetically champion the American way and pay tribute to military personnel past and present.

The album’s emphasis on war’s human losses, shot through with spiritual themes, rescues it from becoming an oversimplified flag-waver, and Charlie’s weakened but spirited voice is affecting, ably supported with traditional-styled accompaniment. While war is the primary subject behind The Battles Rage On, Charlie fights his own battle here for old-fashioned ideals. In today’s America, that’s a valiant effort in itself.

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