HOME GROWN AMERICANA…Carlene Carter: Carter Girl, Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell: Live

Besides jazz, country and bluegrass are products of America, and these two releases display a world view and musicianship that deserves the respect of all improvisers and composers.

Carlene Carter has been mixing country, blues and rock since her debut with The Rumor back in the 70s. Step daughter of The Man in Black and daughter of June, Carter has had a career that is as open nerved as a country song itself. This latest excellent outing has her doing material from various members of the Carter family (including herself) and the team of Jim Keltner/dr, Don Was/b, Greg Liesz/g, Rami Jaffee/key and Blake Mills/g along with various guests mix traditional pieces such as “Me and Wildwood Rose” and “Lonesome Valley” and make them sound both modern and timeless. Carter herself sounds in rich and mature form, comfortable in her own skin and teams up well with Kris Kristofferson on “Black Jack David” and even better with Willie Nelson on “Troublesome Waters.”  A healthy mix of blues and rock mix well here as on “Blackie’s Gunman” with Elizabeth Cook” while a cheerful view on life gleams from Carter’s eyes on “I Ain’t Gonna Work Tomorrow.” Music that tells a story.

Some of you may not even know that Steve Martin was a comedian! He’s more famous as an actor now, but in the 70s he filled auditoriums telling side splitting stories that were so ridiculous you had to laugh. Even then, he’d play his banjo a couple times just to keep you settled down for the next punch line. Lately, he’s been recording with Edie Brickell, and their tour and album last year were so successful on multiple levels, you get a souvenir cd/dvd of their show at the Fox Performing Arts Center in Riverside, CA. Yes, there is a bit of humor delivered by Martin, as on “Atheists Don’t Have No Songs,” but for the most part George Banks impresses by picking and grinning as on “Daddy Played the Banjo,” “The Crow”and “The Dance at the Wedding.”  Vocal harmonies are wondrous as on “Katie Mae” and Brickell sounds excellent, homespun and convincing all night long as on “Love Has Come For You” and “Remember Me This Way.” Impressive on many levels

Rounder Records


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