Carlene Carter


Carlene is a third-generation Carter, daughter of June Carter and Country Music Hall of Famer Carl Smith, granddaughter of Mother Maybelle. She was brought up in the family business, tagging along on tour with Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters (mother June and aunts Helen and Anita). She started her own musical career in 1978 with an eponymous debut album that set the tone for much of her career: an ecstatic critical reception accompanied by lackluster sales. Her music, a rambunctious mix of rock and country, was many years ahead of its time, and she never gave time a chance to catch up.

Personal problems, including an arrest for heroin possession, grounded her for a while around the turn of the century, and she struggled with the loss of her mother, sister, and stepfather Johnny Cash, all of whom passed in 2003. But Carlene has always had a rock and roll soul, and she’s returned, clean and sober, with a new CD whose title tells us how she feels: Stronger.

I can’t imagine why I left Carlene off the Week 9 CD, but I did – let me make it up to you by giving you this 1994 video of Carlene from the PBS show Austin City Limits. It’s a lovely tribute to her musical legacy. Please enjoy.


One Response to “Carlene Carter”

  1. Music From The Oxford American « Harry’s Music Says:

    […] of the artists you’ve read about right here at Harry’s Music: there’s a cut from Carlene Carter’s almost-new CD, Stronger, and a sample of Bela Fleck’s African collaborations. Add a Chris […]

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