Carlene Carter Pays Tribute To Family Roots on ‘Carter Girl’

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• February 14, 2014

carlene carter111Carlene Carter will release a new project that revisits Carter Family classics and original songs that relate to Carter’s connection with her musical roots on her upcoming album, Carter Girl, which releases April 8 on Rounder. The daughter of June Carter Cash and Country music artist Carl Smith, and the granddaughter of Mother Maybelle Carter and stepdaughter of Johnny Cash, Carter says it has been a lifelong goal to complete this project. “The songs on the album cover three generations of Carter Family music,” she notes.

In fact, she shares writing credit with A.P. Carter on “Lonesome Valley 2003,” an updating of the Carter Family patriarch’s “Lonesome Valley” that reflects the loss of Carlene’s mother, sister and stepfather eleven years ago. The album’s first track, just out is “Little Black Train,” that was first recorded by The Carter Family in 1935.

Willie Nelson guests on “Troublesome Waters” and Kris Kristofferson joins on “Black Jack David,” while Vince Gill is heard harmonizing on “Lonesome Valley 2003.” “Blackie’s Gunman” is a duet with Elizabeth Cook. Cook is heard on six of the album’s 12 tracks. The participation of Lorrie Carter Bennett, daughter of Anita Carter, as well as Joe Breen, Carlene’s husband, underscores the continuing Carter Family connective tissue that the album celebrates.

Musicians on the Carter Girl sessions that took place last year in Los Angeles and Nashville include Jim Keltner, Rami Jaffee, Greg Leisz, Sam Bush, Mickey Rafael, Blake Mills as well as producer Don Was on bass. The guitar of the late ‘Cowboy’ Jack Clement is heard on “Ain’t Gonna Work Tomorrow” and there are vocal contributions from generations past — Carlene’s aunts Helen and Anita Carter as well as June Carter Cash and Johnny Cash on the chorus of “I Ain’t Gonna Work Tomorrow.”

From the day I first touched a guitar or piano,” Carter recalls, “My mom said, ‘You have to carry on the legacy of the Carter Family music. It’s supposed to be passed on and passed around.’”

Carter Girl track listing

1. Little Black Train
(A.P. Carter)

2. Give Me The Roses
(A.P. Carter)

3. Me and The Wildwood Rose
(Carlene Carter)

4. Blackie’s Gunman (duet with Elizabeth Cook)
(A.P. Carter)

5. I’ll Be All Smiles Tonight
(A.P. Carter)

6. Poor Old Heartsick Me
(Helen Carter)

7. Troublesome Waters (duet with Willie Nelson)
(Maybelle Carter/Ezra Carter/Dixie Dean Hall)

8. Lonesome Valley 2003 (with special guest Vince Gill)
(Carlene Carter/A.P. Carter/Al Anderson)

9. Tall Lover Man
(June Carter Cash)

10. Gold Watch and Chain
(A.P. Carter)

11. Blackjack David (duet with Kris Kristofferson)
(A.P. Carter)

12. I Ain’ Gonna Work Tomorrow (featuring Helen Carter, Anita Carter, June Carter Cash and Johnny Cash)
(A.P. Carter)

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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson is a staff writer with MusicRow Enterprises. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine, TasteofCountry.com and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at jnicholson@musicrow.com.

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