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Cash, Crow Honor Carters

Tribute to bluegrass legends due in 2004

August 25, 2003 12:00 AM ET

Johnny Cash, George Jones, Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow, Emmylou Harris and June Carter Cash lead the list of artists on a tribute to country music pioneers the Carter Family due out next spring.

Produced by John Carter Cash -- the son of Johnny Cash and his late wife June Carter Cash -- the collection was inspired by his connecting with family history.

Natives of rural Virginia, A.P. Carter, his wife Sara Carter and sister-in-law Maybelle Carter, performing as the Carter Family, arranged and popularized traditional folk songs such as "Keep On the Sunny Side," "Wabash Cannonball" and "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," in the Twenties, Thirties and Forties.

John Carter Cash's mother was Maybelle's daughter, who performed with the group from the time she was nine. "Growing up I took all this stuff for granted," he says. "I was into rock and heavy metal. There's an innocence, great charm and raw beauty that came through their music."

"I'm picking true artists that have it in their heart to interpret these things," he continues. "People that have the musical stature and character to take on these songs."

Also among the artists is Marty Stuart who with his band, the Fabulous Superlatives, recorded "Don't Let the Devil Get the Upper Hand on You." "It's pretty dang dark," Stuart says. "I read a quote one time, it summed up my take on the Carter Family. It said, 'In the presence of perfect beauty, tears are the only answer.' The Carter Family is about as pure and close to the source as you can get."

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