Monday, September 15, 2008

Tribute to the Carter Family

Finally,  I have an urge to update.  Although Jenny and my musical activity has been lower than usual this summer, we are looking forward to being a part of the Floyd Country Store's  'special' event on Sept 20th.  An evening of Carter Family music will feature grandson of AP and Sara, Dale Jett and his wife Teresa along with others.  The 'others' include Jenny and me along with Gary and Jackie Ferguson with Rhoda Kemp and her sister Iva Stillwell.  To top the evening off will be the duo of Jeremy Stevens and Darren Moore who will replicate the 'sound' of the Original Cater Family. They will demonstrate exactly how Sara and Maybelle played their instruments and sang on a whole set of numbers. I may even get to sing AP's part on a couple of numbers in their set.  Yay!

 So using my ipod I have been pumping into my head the music of the Carter Family that I got in a huge 12 CD collection from Floyd's own  County Sales at the bottom of Talley's Alley.  Its very interesting to  hear the details of their style which was so strong and captivating to the rural audience of the 20's and 30's.  Women should be proud to have been represented in such a high profile  and effective way especially in those days.  I am a huge fan of Maybelle's guitar innovations and her links to the black community from where she was influenced.  As a person who drawn to the rhythmic aspect of old-time music as opposed to the melodic I find their approach to backing up a song full of life and power.  If you are not already a fan of the Original Carter  Family I urge you to open your mind and listen to all aspects of their music from the 
words, the melody, the harmony, the autoharp rhythm and the various ways Maybelle chose to play her Gibson L-7 archtop with its top quality tone.  By the way she had it tuned 3 frets below standard to get those deep notes on certain songs.  

The story of their music is one thing but the story of how their popularity in the world of 
commercial music business affected their everyday lives is fascinating.   I recently read their biography entitled "Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone".  I recommend it to you as it will help anyone to understand  the way life was for them in such a rapidly changing time in America's history.  Visit your local library ASAP.