Close Harmony is one of the most distinctive sounds in Traditional Country
. The term refers to the keening two (occasionally three) part harmonies that acts like the Louvin Brothers
and the Delmore Brothers
popularized. The sound of Close Harmony grew out of the high, lonesome sound of bluegrass
, yet most Close Harmony were closer to Traditional Country than not bluegrass. During the late '40s and early '50s, Close Harmony acts became quite popular, thanks to a string of brother acts, who all sang in the style of Close Harmony. The Louvin Brothers, perhaps the definitive Close Harmony group, became popular at the tail-end of the Close Harmony era. Their popularity
was impeded by the emergence of rock & roll
, which cut the country audience dramatically. Ironically, Close Harmony acts in general and the Louvins in particular were an influence
on the harmony
style of the Everly Brothers
, who happened to write the template for rock & roll harmonies with their late '50s singles. The Everlys influence was as apparent in the Beatles
as the Louvins
were in the Everlys
, and that is just one testament to the depth
of Close Harmony.
Published before on allmusic.com. Placed with permission.