CD is raw, spirited and just a masterpiece by one of the
Carter Family Royalty, Carlene Carter. This has been quite a
year for me, lots of great music, but this record really has
moved me with its twelve original songs. This part of
Carter's life has been a rough road, lots of family deaths,
mom (Mother Carter), little sister Rosey Carter, and then
the Man in Black, her father-in-law, Johnny Cash.
There are two CD's of this
material floating around, this full production disc which
was layered track by track, by John Mcfee (Doobie Brother)
who also played each instrument on this CD. I'd love to hear
the acoustic version produced by Martie Stuart.
"Why Be Blue" really has
the feel of a Carter Family song. The vocals are beautiful.
A lot of the songs flat
out rock like, "I'm So Cool," neat harmonies. This song has
great lead guitar and pedal steel. Carter really lets go
with her vocals. Even some electronic effects along with the
amazing guitar work of McFee.
This disc was mastered by
Adam Ayan of Gateway Mastering in Maine. He is known for his
rock work with Bryan Adams and many others and is one of the
best, aggressive in his mastering approach. Johnny Cash
would have loved this CD, it is so original, yet so retro
and meets some old time sounds unheard of for years. I love
the brutal honesty of her lyrics.
"On To You" has some great
slide work with some distortion. "Judgment Day" is mid
tempo, about grieving and death, the arrangement has an
eerie feel to it. I think it's about the death of Johnny
Cash. "Break My Little Heart In Two" is an incredible,
bouncy country song with some hot tele pickin', sounds like
Albert Lee with John Hughey (I know it's not).
"It Takes One To Know Me"
is very country with shimmering guitar music and very
emotional, another song that seems to be about Johnny Cash.
"Light Of Your Love" is a country rocker, that takes off in
a way that is neat with some great harmonies. "Stronger" is
a masterpiece, great slow ballad. "What Doesn't Kill Me
Makes Me Stronger", a very sad, poignant song about the
death of her sister, if you listen to her words, this is so
inspired, then she she turns the song and points it at you,
"What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger".
Carter is a true artist,
one of the torch bearers of the Carter Family tradition. A
great recording like this makes me wonder about people who
are saying that it's time for a higher quality product for
music than the CD. A good CD is great. The trouble is,
mastering engineers are making junk, if they kept to the
rules, everything would be fine. We do not need another
format, records, 8-tracks, cassettes and then CDs. SACDs and
DVD CDs didn't work out. Blu Ray disc, apparently Neil Young
is putting out his greatest hits in Blu Ray. Well, we shall
see, let's just not go back to 8-tracks.
Make sure you catch this
one, out of a strong female year, this is a hot listen.