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Carter Family

The Unbroken Circle: The Musical Heritage of the Carter Family – 2004 (Dualtone)

Reviewed by Brian Wahlert

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CDs by Carter Family

There's very little in today's country music that will stand the test of time. Will the stars of the late 21st century still be performing "Redneck Woman"? However, the 15 songs on this CD were written the better part of a century ago and sound just as good today, in the hands of various country and popular singers, as they did in their original recordings.

George Jones opens the album with an energetic performance of "Worried Man Blues." Sheryl Crow follows that with the Carter Family's poignant Great Depression classic, "No Depression in Heaven." Marty Stuart performs a stark murder song, "Never Let the Devil Get the Upper Hand of You." A particularly heartrending moment is Johnny Cash's fragile-sounding rendition of "Engine One-Forty-Three."

All of the songs here feature first-rate acoustic backing by musicians like Randy Scruggs, who contributes his guitar talents on four of the tracks. This album should serve as an enjoyable refresh of these classic songs for long-time fans, as well as a fantastic primer for new fans.