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Ginny Hawker and Kay Justice

Bristol: A Tribute to the Music of the Original Carter Family – 1999 (Copper Creek)

Reviewed by George Hauenstein

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CDs by Ginny Hawker and Kay Justice

The original Carter Family - A.P., Sara and Maybelle - are the first family of country music, writing songs and setting standards still honored by many of today's artists. Ginny Hawker and Kay Justice have been singing Carter Family songs for years, and their admiration and respect for the material comes through loud and clear.

The beauty of this CD lies in its simplicity and its sincerity. Hawker and Justice take turns singing lead, while the other provides harmony. The blend of one's voice compliments the other's perfectly. This is especially true on "Waves On The Sea" and "Happy or Lonesome." The vocals are not particularly polished, and the arrangements don't contain a lot of bells and whistles, but that only adds to the album's charm and integrity. The result throughout is remarkably similar the Carter Family's original style. The material here ranges from the more popular ("Midnight On The Stormy Deep" and "On The Rock Where Moses Stood") to the lesser-known ) "Amber Tresses" and "Evening Bells Are Ringing"). Mike Seeger and Tracy Schwartz provide instrumental support on many tunes.

Hawker and Justice are not musical household names, but that shouldn't stop country and folk fans from sampling their work. This is a wonderful album that ranks among the best Carter Family tributes in recent memory.