Sign up for newsletter
 

Chet Atkins' widow dies

Thursday, October 22, 2009 – Leona Atkins, who sang with twin sister Lois Johnson as The Johnson Twins and later married Chet Atkins, died at her Nashville home Wednesday morning after a lengthy illness at 85.

She was born Leona Johnson, near Williamsburg, Ohio. The Johnson Twins, who used pseudonyms for their first names (Leona was "Laverne," and Lois was "Fern) sang on Cincinnati's WLW radio in the 1940s.

Atkins performed on the station's Boone County Jamboree and met Leona. They married in 1946. Lois married Jethro Burns of Homer & Jethro fame that same year.

After her marriage, Leona Atkins did little performing, supporting her husband's career and raising a family. Chet Atkins died in 2001.

She had a role in the Garrison Keillor movie, "A Prairie Home Companion." He was a fan of her music, and when he wrote the screenplay, he added a sister act named Leona and Lois.

CD reviews for Chet Atkins

Guitar Legend: The RCA Years
Few musicians have had such impact, both as musician and producer, as Chet Atkins. But leaving aside one's feelings about his popularizing of the Nashville Sound, it's as Guitar Legend that this masterful picker is celebrated here. Two CDs and 50 tracks - 4 previously unreleased - display a stylistic versatility that his more mainstream albums never showcased. The dazzling swing of "Canned Heat," supported by hot fiddle and accordion, give way to forays into R & B ("Tweedle Dee") and western »»»
Christmas with Chet Atkins
It's awfully hard to find fault with one of country's greatest guitar players playing 14 classic Christmas carols. On many tracks, Atkins is backed by The Anita Kerr Singers, but the focus is always squarely on the guitar. The album opens with a buoyant performance of "Jingle Bell Rock," but Atkins quickly lays back to serve up a sweetly lilting performance of "Winter Wonderland." His electric guitar turns frolicsome again on "Jolly Old St. Nicholas," but on "White Christmas" he offers another »»»
Chet Atkins Picks On the Beatles
Out of the RCA vault comes this reissue from 1966, 12 songs clocking in atabout 30 minutes, but with Atkins you've got quality, not quantity. That's because without vocals, hype or attitude getting in the way, the listener cansoak in a harvest of sun ripened guitar riffs that haven't lost any potentcy in 30 years. True, Atkins is even more amazing now than back then, but hearing "And I Love Her" and "Things We Said Today" as only he can perform them is a timeless pleasure, complemented by »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Morlix overcomes album covers – Guitarist Gurf Morlix seemed ultra concerned when talking about his CD covers. Who could blame him when the two of his album covers - the just released "Eatin' At Me" and "Toad Of Titicaca" - received their share of criticism, which had nothing to do with the music contained therein? In fact, Morlix pointed out that he made... »»»
Concert Review: At Shaky Boots day 2, soggy weather doesn't dampen music – Some things are too good to last, and in Atlanta, that includes a rain-free weekend. The skies that were so clear and sunny on Shaky Boots' first day turned to rain on the second, but even that couldn't dampen the good mood of the attendees - or the good music. John and Jacob, a new group from Alabama, won the award for best-dressed... »»»
Subscribe to Country News Digest Country News Digest      Follow Country Standard Time on twitter CST      Visit Country Standard Time on Facebook CST

Elsewhere in the news

Currently at the CST blogs

Thanks to Wills, AATW remains the king After over 40 years of touring and recording as the founder, lead guitar and front-man for Western Swing music's standard-bearers, Asleep At The Wheel, Ray Benson has a lot of irons in the fire these days. In fact, with his TV show Texas Music Scene a hit throughout the southwestern U.S. and touring in support of AATW's new release, "Still the King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys," he is as busy now as ever.... »»»
Pug turns writer's block into "Windfall" In his life and career, Joe Pug has never done anything halfway. So when Pug experienced a crippling lack of creative inspiration after his punishing road schedule to promote 2012's "The Great Despiser," he didn't consider the possibility of taking a short break. Joe Pug was on the verge of throwing in the towel.... »»»
Giddens takes her turn A great deal has transpired in the 10 years between Rhiannon Giddens, Dom Flemons and Justin Robinson connecting at North Carolina's Black Banjo Gathering and the release of Giddens' brilliant debut solo album, "Tomorrow is My Turn." Giddens and Flemons formed the very successful Sankofa Springs. Robinson met and was mentored by black string band legend Joe Thompson, and ultimately, Giddens, Flemons and Robinson formed the bluegrass/folk/blues powerhouse, the Carolina Chocolate Drops. ... »»»
Monterey CD review - Monterey
The Milk Carton Kids may be one of the most unlikely Americana contenders of the past few years. Relying solely on dual acoustic guitars and close-knit harmonies, they look and sound like an introspective folk duo circa the mid '60s - think Simon and Garfunkel, Peter and Gordon, or Chad and Jeremy »»»
The Malpass Brothers CD review - The Malpass Brothers
The North Carolina-based Malpass Brothers' passion for the classic country of past decades is nicely displayed on their latest self-titled release. Christopher and Taylor Malpass are most effective when they tackle brotherly harmonies as with covers of the Wilburn Brothers' "Which One Is To Blame" and the Louvin Brothers' "Satan and the Saint," »»»