The Louvin Brothers - Tragic Songs of Life (1956), 3/10

I'm mildly surprised, yet not shocked by my lack of interest in these songs. I love Hank Williams, who these fellas clearly draw inspiration from, but this sounds even more like traditional country gospel which is uninteresting from the get-go. I also am not a fan of their style of harmonizing, it just becomes grating after one or two consecutive songs showcasing the same repeated style. Not only that, but there is not enough variety in songwriting or structure to warrant their vocal performances’ immediate flatlining. Yes some are more upbeat than others, but that is about the extent of the variety from front to back. I respect the genuine origin of the songs and their background and do truly enjoy the heartbreak stories, but ultimately have no interest in returning, even as a fan of this era of country music. Much braver things were done before and since the Louvin Brothers released their first LP in 1956. Even their own Satan Is Real from 1959 is a much more varied, albeit bizarre, effort within the same decade. It’s more charming, eccentric and impressive in just about every fashion. If we’re talking about a couple of guys discovering their sound it is decent enough, but doesn’t stand up to much of the country music that would come later. Granted the mandolin adds a unique flair that you'll rarely hear, but the record itself is far too uniform to warrant much interest beyond a brief infatuation toward the beginning of the first side. If you’re a country music enthusiast or someone experiencing deep heartbreak, sure go ahead and give it a shot, otherwise it likely won’t be an inspirational experience.