Louvin Guitar to Make Devilish Debut at Summer NAMM
When it comes to building great guitars, the devil is in the details—and these days C.F. Martin & Co. is taking that to heart in more ways than one.
At this summer’s conference for the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), taking place July 17 to 19 in Nashville, the Martin guitar company plans to unveil its new D-28 Louvin Brothers Custom Signature Edition, a Sitka-spruce-topped dreadnought which will tread the line between heaven and hell for fans of the pioneering country-gospel duo.
Charlie and Ira Louvin enjoyed their share of hits on the country charts in the 1950s and ‘60s, including such songs as “When I Stop Dreaming,” “Cash on the Barrel Head,” and “The Christian Life.” But the road to their own signature-edition D-28 was paved with more than good intentions— it also has a legacy in album-cover-art design, thanks to the Brothers’ renowned 1959 album, Satan Is Real, whose cover image memorably depicts the Louvin lads crying out in the bowels of hell, while a giant cutout of Satan looms ominously behind.
The image, designed by Ira Louvin, has developed a cult following among album-cover-art aficionados—and it caught the attention of Martin CEO Chris Martin last year when he saw it emblazoned on a T-shirt.
“I have been interested in folk art for many years,” says Martin. “I’m not sure why, but I’m intrigued by folk art that features the devil.”
Bedazzled by the T-shirt, Martin began researching the Louvins’ legacy and says he grew an appreciation “for their devotion to authentic country music, and in particular, their melodious harmonies.”
The only things left to do was create a limited-edition paean to the Louvins and their late-‘50s face off with Ol’ Scratch.
Designed with the help of Charlie Louvin’s son, Ken Louvin, the new D-28’s Sitka top features a special photographic imprint inspired by the Satan is Real album cover, supported by solid East Indian rosewood back and sides, and a mahogany neck. Only 50 of the Louvin signature editions will be made; price is $4,666.