The Louvin Brothers are everyone’s favorite Appalachian close-harmony brother duet (there are plenty of them). Born with the surname Loudermilk, the two brothers, Charlie and Ira, used to perform on a local radio station in Chattanooga as teenagers; in the 1950s they drew the attention of Acuff-Rose Music and eventually signed with MGM. In short order the Louvin Brothers released records such as Tragic Songs of Life (1956), Nearer My God to Thee (1957), and The Family Who Prays (1958). In 1960 the brothers released a gospel album called Satan Is Real, which has long since become a favorite of collectors because it’s an excellent album but also because the cover is just so interesting and odd. In 2012 Charlie Louvin published an entertaining memoir with the same title and cover motifs.
Last year two country-music-playing brothers named Malpass reached out to a talented bootmaker named Lisa Sorrell for some extra-special custom-made cowboy boots. Christopher Malpass chose to get a pair of nice light-brown boots with his name on them, but Taylor Malpass decided to recreate the cover of one of his favorite albums—you guessed it, Satan Is Real.
Sorrell’s initial sketch for the boot tops
As she neared completion, Sorrell made the interesting comment that “often with a non-traditional design such as this one, I feel it’s most attractive when it’s flat and putting it on a cowboy boot makes me like it less. I’m liking this design more and more though.”
As Sorrell put it, “Satan has tiny hands and protruding front teeth.”
If you’d like custom cowboy boots of your very own with the cover of My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless or Slint’s Spiderland on them, you can reach out to Sorrell and maybe you can figure something out. According to her website, prices start at $5,000.
Here’s a video of Sorrell working on the Louvin Brothers boots: