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The Carter Family

When I was a kid growing up in Kansas City, a friend of mine played the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s Will the Circle Be Unbroken for me. Many of the songs were Carter Family songs, including the title track. My fascination with mountain and bluegrass music really took hold after I moved to Virginia with my wife, Anne, after law school. So many of the great bluegrass tunes are either Carter Family tunes or tunes the Carters found from others. Some of their melodies have become other peoples tunes, like Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land," which is based on a Carter Family song. They were great musical archivists, especially Mother Maybelle, because she learned to play guitar in this great style. I play a lot of Carter Family music on the harmonica and with bluegrass bands.