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Cynics be damned, Carter girl endures

TCAN, Natick, Mass., October 11, 2014

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

Other recent concert reviews
Cynical naysayers without a clue would aim their vitriol at Carlene Carter. Yes, she is one of the progeny of the Carter family, the first family of country music. And she is quite proud of it.

So much so that after watching Maybelle Carter perform with her sisters and being the daughter of June Carter Cash (not to mention Johnny Cash's stepdaughter), Carter delved further into her family's past with the well-done CD, "Carter Girl," out in April.

This is not a case of Carter simply cashing in on being an accident of birth. Far from it as the affable, likable, but more importantly, fine singer put on display.

Rightfully so, Carter, who has had her ups and numerous downs in her life and during her 36-year recording career, believes in "The Carter Girl" because she played about half of its 12 songs.

Carter refreshed the songs with a pleasant, somewhat smoky singing voice that has none of its luster over the years. At times, she was aided by her husband of 10 years, Joe Breen, who also took a turn on lead vocals in his own right on "40 Shades of Gray," an Irish song.

About the only downer was Carter momentarily forgot the words to one sign and may have messed up the words to "Tiffany Lowe," a song about her daughter. Either Carter had a lapse in remembering the words or else she just interrupted the song with laughter.

And then was her curious husband, who later wandered back on stage with a cell phone for reasons unknown, interrupting the show. Carter shooed him off the stage so she could continue. What exactly caused Breen to jump onstage again wasn't clear, but it certainly was odd.

Then again, Carter comes from a left of center family. She talked of having mowed the family lawn until her mother married Cash and then joked that she wasn't allowed to do that any more because of the derision Cash would receive for having his stepdaughter do the yard.

Before a real good reading of "Black Jack David" from "The Carter Girl,' Carter talked of meeting Kris Kristofferson, who sang with her on the song, decades ago when he landed with a helicopter at the Cash manse.

Life hasn't always been easy for Carter. One's pedigree can sometimes be a mixed blessing , but Carter is making the most of her good fortune these days no matter what the cynics may say.