Steps to Heaven features ten traditional gospel classics including two Louvin Brothers songs. The release will be followed by Charlie Louvin Sings Murder Ballads & Disaster Songs, out December 9, 2008. Both albums were produced, recorded and mixed by Mark Nevers (Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Andrew Bird, Bobby Bare Sr.)
2007 saw Louvin celebrate his 80th birthday amidst a swirl of activity around the release of his first studio album in ten years, Charlie Louvin. Grammy-nominated for Best Traditional Folk Album, the disc features George Jones, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, Will Oldham, Elvis Costello and many others. Charlie toured and recorded with Lucinda Williams, made a video for the song “Ira”, released a field recording of one of his many in-store performances, Live at Shake It Records, played over 100 concert dates sharing stages with Ryan Adams and Neko Case, appeared on giant festivals like Bonnaroo and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, and placed a medallion around Emmylou Harris’ neck inducting her into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Charlie’s self-titled album earned 4 out of 5 stars in Uncut and Mojo Magazine, and sparked a bevy of great press and renewed interest in his fascinating career.
Instead of hanging back at age 80, Charlie has instead chosen to challenge himself. Steps to Heavenwas recorded live with a gospel choir comprised of three sisters, journeyman gospel pianist Derrick Lee, and Chris Scruggs adding doghouse bass and electric guitar. Louvin had never recorded with black gospel musicians before, and in doing so discovered a new musical path. "I did things on the gospel record I had no idea I could do. I'd be thinking along the way, ‘How can I do things I've never done before?’ And I did it."