Carter Family

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Carter Family

Carter Family, group of singers that specialized in traditional music of the Southern Appalachian Mountains; it consisted of A(lvin) P(leasant) Carter, 1891–1960, b. Maces Spring, Va.; his wife, Sara (Dougherty) Carter, 1898–1979, b. Flatwoods, Va.; and his sister-in-law, Maybelle (Addington) Carter, 1909–1978, b. Nickelsville, Va. Perhaps the most influential group in the history of country music, they helped to bring folk and country into America's cultural mainstream. The group sang locally until 1927 when they responded to a talent scout's ad, were “discovered,” and became recording artists. During their career they recorded more than 300 songs, sometimes joined by Sara or Maybelle's children.

The Carters' style was marked by close harmonies, by Sara's autoharp, and by “Mother” Maybelle's distinctive guitar-picking style, later adopted by many folk and country artists. Among their best-known songs are Wildwood Flower, Will the Circle Be Unbroken, and Wabash Cannonball. While the so-called Original Carter Family disbanded in 1943 (seven years after Sara divorced A. P.), later Carters followed in their tradition; Maybelle continued to perform into the 1960s along with her daughters Helen (1927–98), Anita (1933–99), and June (1929–2003), who was married to and often sang with Johnny Cash. Today, A. P. and Sara's children Janette and Joe both sing country music, notably at the Carter Family Memorial Music Center in Hiltons, Va. (est. 1979). The Carter Family was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1970.


See study by M. Zwonitzer (2002),

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Carter Family

country music singers, songwriters. After A. P. Carter married Sara Dougherty in 1915, they often sang for friends and relatives; when Maybelle Addington married A. P.'s brother Ezra in 1926, she joined in and proved to be especially good on the guitar, banjo, and autoharp. They made their first records for Victor Company in 1927 (at the same session where Jimmie Rodgers debuted) and soon they were becoming known to a broader audience with their recordings, live radio broadcasts, and personal appearances. With a repertoire of both traditional folksongs, gospel music, and their own compositions ("Wildwood Flowers," "Will the Circle Be Unbroken"), they embodied the authentic mood and style of southern folk music. The original trio broke up in 1943 (A. P. and Sara had separated in 1933) and Maybelle began to perform with her daughters Helen, June, and Anita as Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters; they were a popular fixture on Grand Ole Opry (1950–67). When June married Johnny Cash in 1968, the group toured with his show until 1973. A. P. and Sara had pretty much retired in 1943 but they joined their children, Joe and Janette, to make recordings in 1952 and 1956. Maybelle and Sara made an album, An Historic Reunion, in 1967. The abiding influence of the original Carter Family trio on several generations is now recognized by all who perform and enjoy American country and folk music.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in classic literature ?
There was two little kiddies in the Carter family whom I had loved and who had thought there was no one on Earth like Uncle Jack; I could see them just as plainly, as I stood there under the moonlit skies of Barsoom, and I longed for them as I had never longed for any mortals before.
And with Mick safely out of the way, will Stuart leave the rest of the Carter family alone - well, what do you think?
Since then, I've added a number of bluegrass greats to my playlistNorman Blake, The Carter Family, Alison Krauss and Union Station, Steve Martin, The Goat Rodeo Sessions, and every song on the O Brother, Where Art Thou?
It has been surreal walking down the road and having people shouting 'Woody' at me but I cannot wait to get back in the Square to see what trouble he will cause this time." When Woody arrived at the Vic he found himself deep in the Carter family problems.
BBC One soap EastEnders may be filmed months in advance but the Carter family has vowed to support Wales in the Euros 2016.
Johnny is struggling So when it comes to the Carter family photo that Mick has rather optimistically organised, Johnny is forced to paint on a smile.
Summary: The Carter family didn't take the stage, but were there to support teenage singers Chloe and Halle Bailey
How big a deal was Virginia's Carter Family? You've heard their staples, like "Keep on the Sunny Side" and "Will You Miss Me When I'm Cone?"--the "Cups" song from Pitch Perfect.
Meanwhile, Shirley turns up at The Vic and attempts to take Stan's ashes, but the urn ends up on the floor amid a struggle and the Carter family makes a shocking discovery about his remains.
At The Vic, Shirley attempts to take Stan's ashes, but amid a chaotic struggle, the urn ends up on the floor, and the Carter family make a shocking discovery.
The Carter family are in the grip of a storyline which will see grandad Stan, played by Timothy West, die of prostate cancer.
EASTENDERS BBC1 8pm The Carter family's drama is never-ending, and tonight Stan collapses at home.