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The Carter Family Link:

Carter Family

Appleseed Recordings

Jody Stecher & Kate Brislin
Songs of The Carter Family
2000, Appleseed Recordings

This ode to the pioneering work of The Carter family features the thickly countrified voice of Jody Stecher, matched with Kate Brislin’s aching vocals. It’s a complimentary pairing, as each of these veteran vocalists know well the treasures they’re unearthing. Their selection of Carter Family songs reveals the multifaceted nature of these original country forefathers. One gets the impression that no subject was beyond The Carter Family’s range. There are, of course, love songs such as "Dreaming of You Darling." But story songs and spirituals–or spiritually influenced songs—are even more plentiful. "Meet Me in the Moonlight" is a love song of a sort, with prison being the only barrier that locks two lovers apart. "Single Girl, Married Girl" compares and contrasts the decidedly different circumstances for each of these two widely varying life paths. A song like "Motherless Children" is saturated with empathy for the unfortunate, and is given a lovely reading here. "River of Jordan" and "So Em on the Mountain" are about the only out-and-out gospel songs in the bunch, which is surprising when you consider just how many different spirituals The Carter Family wrote or performed. Of course, it is easy to criticize anyone who attempts to limit a Carter covers album to just one disc. But Stecher and Brislin sing these traditional standards with much verve and vigor, which eventually lays such criticism to rest. A small—yet supportive—musical backing helps out on this disc. Brislin and Stecher handle all the instrumentation, which consists of only guitar and mandolin, and Larry Hanks and Suzy Thompson add extra vocal in a few places. If nothing else, this album should make you want to investigate The Carter Family’s music more deeply, if you haven’t done so already.—Dan MacIntosh

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