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Somewhere, not long into the 20th century, at the foot of a great limestone mountain, a young, bright blue-eyed girl picked up a guitar for the first time. This simple yet mysterious child of Virginia was then Maybelle Addington. In the quiet hollows of Appalachia near Hiltons, Virginia, where the coal smoke lay like early morning fog over the tobacco fields, she developed a style of guitar playing destined to influence musicians around the world. Artists here include George Jones, Sheryl Crow, Johnny Cash, Marty Stuart, Janette & Joe Carter, John Prine, Willie Nelson, Roseanne Cash, and more.
The title of this tribute to the Carter Family alludes to their best-known spiritual, "Will the Circle Be Unbroken." Although that standard isn't included here, the roster of artists renews the spirit of the circle, a familial legacy that encompasses Mother Maybelle's daughter June Carter Cash, June's husband Johnny Cash, Johnny's daughter Rosanne Cash, and generations of artists inspired by them.
Album highlights range from the yelp of George Jones on "Worried Man Blues" to the surge of rockabilly energy in John Prine's "Bear Creek Blues" to the banjo-driven, fiddle-tinged bluegrass of the Del McCoury Band's "Rambling Boy." As for the family's performances, Rosanne brings a depth of expression to "The Winding Stream" while a sense of mortality pervades Johnny's "Engine One-Forty-Three" and June's "Hold Fast to the Right." And Willie Nelson's solo reading of "You Are My Flower" gives it room to bloom. Album producer John Carter Cash (son of Johnny and June, grandson of Maybelle) makes every one of these tracks feel like family.
|1. Worried Man Blues - George Jones|
|2. No Depression In Heaven - Sheryl Crow|
|3. On The Sea Of Galilee - Emmylou Harris with the Peasall Sisters|
|1. Engine One-Forty-Three - Johnny Cash|
|2. Never Let The Devil Get The Upper Hand Of You - Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives|
|3. Little Moses - Joe and Janette Carter|
|4. Black Jack David - Norman and Nancy Blake with Tim O'Brien|
|1. Bear Creek Blues - John Prine|
|2. You Are My Flower - Willie Nelson|
|3. Single Girl, Married Girl - Shawn Colvin with Earl and Randy Scruggs|
|4. Will My Mother Know Me There? - The Whites with Ricky Skaggs|
|1. The Winding Stream - Rosanne Cash|
|2. Rambling Boy - The Del McCoury Band|
|3. Hold Fast To The Right - June Carter Cash|
|4. Gold Watch & Chain - The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band with Kris Kristofferson|