After a decade-long recording hiatus, ol' Charlie Louvin is back. I just got his new, self-titled disc in the mail and it's not bad. Even though he's 79 years old, his voice sounds absolutely spectacular. It's weathered and fragile, but when songs are concerned with morality, the effect is profound. Louvin, along with his brother Ira took shape-note based singing and intertwining harmonies to the top of the country music heap throughout the 40s and 50s. The record is fairly straightforward with guest stars Will Oldham (excellent performance), Elvis Costello, Tift Merritt, and George Jones (sounding like shit) all delivering Louvin Brothers songs the way they were originally played. There is only one new song from Charlie, "Ira", which is an ode to his brother. The one attempt at experimentation, however, is downright ridiculous. During "Great Atomic Power" with guest star Jeff Tweedy, naturally, guitar feedback creeps up...apparently intended to evoke atomic doom? It doesn't work. But the remainder of the record is what you'd expect...a country great teamed up with admiring youngsters delivering note-for-note renditions of old standards.