Title - 'The Carter Family Across Generations'
Artist - The Carter Family
For those not in the know, the generation of the Carter Family credited with the “big bang” that started the genre that would come to be known as country music with four successive generations of Carter kin, including “Carter Girls” Helen, June and Anita as well as Carlene Carter and John Carter Cash can now all be heard on The Carter Family – Across Generations (Reviver Legacy).
Between 1927, and their disbanding in 1943, the Original Carter Family recorded over three hundred songs and A.P. Carter, his wife Sara Carter, and Sara's first cousin Maybelle Carter were the first country band to be inducted as Members of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Anita, June and Helen toured and recorded with Maybelle during those years, ultimately becoming part of The Johnny Cash Show. Cash would marry June in 1968 and had already made the Carter Family an integral part of his in-concert presentation.
His inclusion of the Carters enabled many to witness, both in concert and on TV, and to be influenced by “the Carter Scratch,” Mother Maybelle’s innovative guitar technique.
Carlene, June’s daughter by country great Carl Smith, was part of the group as was as Lorrie Carter Bennet, Anita’s daughter, who is also heard on the album.
Carlene, of course, went on to country stardom in her own right while John Carter Cash, sole offspring of the marriage from Johnny Cash and June Carter, became a noted Nashville-based producer and recording artist.
Now, with Across Generations, things have come full circle with original recordings on which original Carter Family members are heard with contributions from later generations.
These are recently discovered recordings between Sara and Maybelle from the '60s to which producer John Carter Cash has added 4 more generations of the Carter family to these quite breathtakingly raw and evoking recordings.
With that in mind, you’ll hear vocals from Carlene Carter (third generation Carter, granddaughter of Maybelle Carter and daughter of June Carter Cash), Adrianna Cross (fifth generation Carter Family member, great-great-granddaughter of Sara and A.P. Carter), Ana Cristina Cash (wife of album producer John Carter Cash who is third generation Carter, grandson of Maybelle Carter and son of June Carter Cash and Johnny Cash, David Carter Jones (third generation Carter Family member, son of Helen Carter, grandson of Maybelle Carte) and Jack Ezra Cash (fourth generation Carter Family member, son of John Carter Cash, grandson of June Carter and Johnny Cash, great-grandson of Maybelle Carter).
Phew! Right! But wait, there's so much more as there are easily about another 30 Carter-related artists on this quite wondrous new album, which has to make it one of the most expansive, family-corralled albums of music that has EVER been brought forth!
1. 'Farther On (Traditional)'
2. 'My Clinch Mountain Home'
3. 'Gold Watch And Chain'
4. 'Worried Man Blues'
5. 'Winding Stream'
6. 'I Never Will Marry'
7. 'Amber Tresses',br>
9. 'Diamonds In The Rough'
10. 'Don't Forget This Song'
11. 'Foggy Mountain Top'
12. 'Will The Circle Be Unbroken'
13. 'Maybelle's New Tune'
The album begins in lo-fi style with the lead track, 'Farther On' (a traditional song also known as 'Is Better Farther On'), a song that incorporates the vocal and guitar of Sara Carter (first generation Carter Family, wife of A.P. Carter) and vocals by Adrianna Cross; who is Sara and A.P.’s great-great granddaughter (fifth generation) and vocals and autoharp by Dale Jett, A.P. and Sara’s grandson (third generation).
Furthermore, John Carter Cash plays acoustic guitar on the track and he’s the grandson of Maybelle Carter and son of June Carter and Johnny Cash (third generation) and Carlene Carter is heard on guitar.
For the record, she’s the granddaughter of Maybelle Carter and daughter of June Carter and Carl Smith (third generation). Oh, and the whistling you hear on the track is by Coy Bayes who was Sara Carter’s second husband and a cousin of A.P.
OK, sure, I could go on listing the Carter/Cash musical descendants on each and every track, but I would be here all day, so just know that on all the 13 tracks there are, at the very least, upwards of five or more of the clan giving their all for what must have been an immense passion project for the family.
Members of the fifth generation are heard with their great-great grandparents in a melodic version of time travel where song selections range from Carter Family standards 'Worried Man Blues,' 'Will The Circle Be Unbroken' to 'Maybelle', a composition by Danny and David Carter, written in 1978 upon the passing of their grandmother; to the stunning ambient, and newly discovered original autoharp recording, simply titled 'Maybelle’s New Tune.'
Carlene Carter noted, “It’s a wonderful blessing to be able to have the technology today to have so many people who have passed and to be able to sing with them. As a child, I was told ‘when we’re all passed away, you have to carry this on and that’s what we’ve done.’”
John Carter Cash, her brother adds, “We were charged with this,” suggesting, “It’s not just about fame and power, it’s about the music” with his sister chiming in, “And the love.”
Reflecting on his family’s role in music history, John Carter Cash suggests, “You show me ten songs and I’ll show you nine that have direct influence from The Carter Family. The Carter Family touched many people,” he notes and the album, in a very tangible way, keeps that tradition moving forward.
After hearing the finished album, Carlene commented, “It’s very authentic, it’s just who they are and when I hear it, I get very emotional because all I wanted to do was protect that legacy and you truly hear that ‘Carter thing.’”
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