Unbroken Circle: Musical Heritage of the Carter Family

The Unbroken Circle:
The Musical Heritage of the Carter Family


First Appeared in The Music Box, September 2004, Volume 11, #9

Written by John Metzger


With a mere 15 tracks, The Unbroken Circle doesn’t come close to scratching the surface of the Carter Family’s astounding legacy, nor do the artists who participated in the project make a dent in the substantial slate of those who have been influenced by the ensemble’s Depression-era folk tunes. Even so, the resulting package is a prime example of how to correctly assemble a tribute album, simply because it combines equal parts reverence and originality while shaping its subject’s music into something that is both exciting and new. In essence, the endeavor sparkles with fresh perspectives that never lose sight of the Carter Family’s bucolic, back porch ambience. Whether it’s Sheryl Crow’s twang-y take on No Depression in Heaven or the driving country-rock beat that John Prine lends to Bear Creek Blues, whether it’s the exquisite musicianship that permeates the Del McCoury Band’s cover of Rambling Boy or George Jones’ sprightly, fiddle and steel guitar-drenched rendition of Worried Man Blues, the collection taps into something that is truly special. By working its magic, it not only conjures the spirits of Maybelle, A.P., and Sara Carter, but it also allows their music to transcend time and space to become a spiritual force that is magnificently moving and altogether unstoppable. starstarstarstar

Unbroken Circle: The Musical Heritage of the Carter Family is
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


Copyright © 2004 The Music Box