It is taking longer than expected to fetch the next song to play. The music should be playing soon. If you get tired of waiting, you can try reloading your browser.


Please check our Help page for information about troubleshooting Pandora on your browser.

Please ensure you are using the latest Flash Player.


If you are unable or do not wish to upgrade your Flash Player,
please try a different browser.


Please check our Help page for information about troubleshooting Pandora on your browser.
Your Pandora One subscription will expire shortly.
close
Your Pandora One trial subscription will expire shortly. Upgrade to continue unlimited, ad-free listening.
You've listened to hours of Pandora this month. Consider upgrading to Pandora One.
Close
Hi . Pandora is using Facebook to personalize your experience. Learn MoreNo Thanks
-0:00
0:00
Change Skin

We created Pandora to put the Music Genome Project directly in your hands

It’s a new kind of radio –
stations that play only music you like

 
Create an account for free. Register
Now Playing
Music Feed
My Profile
Create a Station
People who also like this

The Carter Family

The most influential group in country music history, the Carter Family switched the emphasis from hillbilly instrumentals to vocals, made scores of their songs part of the standard country music canon, and made a style of guitar playing, "Carter picking," the dominant technique for decades. Along with Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family were among the first country music stars. Comprised of a gaunt, shy gospel quartet member named Alvin P. Carter and two reserved country girls -- his wife, Sara, and their sister-in-law, Maybelle -- the Carter Family sang a pure, simple harmony that influenced not only the numerous other family groups of the '30s and the '40s, but folk, bluegrass, and rock musicians like Woody Guthrie, Bill Monroe, the Kingston Trio, Doc Watson, Bob Dylan, and Emmylou Harris, to mention just a few.

It's unlikely that bluegrass music would have existed without the Carter Family. A.P., the family patriarch, collected hundreds of British/Appalachian folk songs and, in arranging these for recording, enhanced the pure beauty of these "facts-of-life tunes" and at the same time saved them for future generations. Those hundreds of songs the trio members found around their Virginia and Tennessee homes, after being sung by A.P., Sara, and Maybelle, became Carter songs, even though these were folk songs and in the public domain. Among the more than 300 sides they recorded are "Worried Man Blues," "Wabash Cannonball," "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," "Wildwood Flower," and "Keep on the Sunny Side."

The Carter Family's instrumental backup, like their vocals, was unique. On her Gibson L-5 guitar, Maybelle played a bass-strings lead (the guitar being tuned down from the standard pitch) that is the mainstay of bluegrass guitarists to the present. Sara accompanied her on the autoharp or on a second guitar, while A.P. devoted his talent to singing in a haunting though idiosyncratic bass or baritone. Although the original Carter Family disbanded in 1943, enough of their recordings remained in the vaults to keep the group current through the '40s. Furthermore, their influence was evident through further generations of musicians, in all forms of popular music, through the end of the century.

Initially, the Carter Family consisted of just A.P. and Sara. Born and raised in the Clinch Mountains of Virginia, A.P. (b. Alvin Pleasant Delaney Carter, December 15, 1891; d. November 7, 1960) learned to play fiddle as a child, with his mother teaching him several traditional and old-time songs; his father had played violin as a young man, but abandoned the instrument once he married. Once he became an adult, he began singing with two uncles and his older sister in a gospel quartet, but he became restless and soon moved to Indiana, where he worked on the railroad. By 1911, he had returned to Virginia, where he sold fruit trees and wrote songs in his spare time.

While he was traveling and selling trees, he met Sara (b. Sara Dougherty, July 21, 1898; d. January 8, 1979). According to legend, she was on her porch playing the autoharp and singing "Engine 143" when he met her. Like A.P., Sara learned how to sing and play through her family. As a child, she learned a variety of instruments, including autoharp, guitar, and banjo, and she played with her friends and cousins.

A.P. and Sara fell in love and married on June 18, 1915, settling in Maces Springs, where he worked various jobs while the two of them sang at local parties, socials, and gatherings. For the next 11 years, they played locally. During that time, the duo auditioned for Brunswick Records, but the label was only willing to sign A.P. and only if he recorded fiddle dance songs under the name Fiddlin' Doc; he rejected their offer, believing that it was against his parents' religious beliefs.

Eventually, Maybelle Carter (b. Maybelle Addington, May 10, 1909; d. October 23, 1978) -- who had married A.P.'s brother Ezra -- began singing and playing guitar with Sara and A.P. Following Maybelle's addition to the Carter Family in 1926, the group began auditioning at labels in earnest. In 1927, the group auditioned for Ralph Peer, a New York-based A&R man for Victor Records who was scouting for local talent in Bristol, TN. The Carters recorded six tracks, including "The Wandering Boy" and "Single Girl, Married Girl." Victor released several of the songs as singles, and when the records sold well, the label offered the group a long-range contract.

The Carter Family signed with Victor in 1928, and over the next seven years the group recorded most of its most famous songs, including "Wabash Cannonball," "I'm Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes," "John Hardy Was a Desperate Little Man," "Wildwood Flower," and "Keep on the Sunny Side," which became the Carters' signature song. By the end of the '20s, the group had become a well-known national act, but its income was hurt considerably by the Great Depression. Because of the financial crisis, the Carters were unable to play concerts in cities across the U.S. and were stuck playing schoolhouses in Virginia. Eventually, all of the members became so strapped for cash they had to move away from home to find work. In 1929, A.P. moved to Detroit temporarily while Maybelle and her husband relocated to Washington, D.C.

In addition to the stress of the Great Depression, A.P. and Sara's marriage began to fray, and the couple separated in 1932. For the next few years, the Carters only saw each other at recording sessions, partially because the Depression had cut into the country audience and partially because the women were raising their families. In 1935, the Carters left Victor for ARC, where they re-recorded their most famous songs. The following year, they signed to Decca.

Eventually, the group signed a lucrative radio contract with XERF in Del Rio, TX, which led to contracts at a few other stations along the Mexican and Texas border. Because of their locations, these stations could broadcast at levels that were far stronger than other American radio stations, so the Carters' radio performances could be heard throughout the nation, either in their live form or as radio transcriptions. As a result, the band's popularity increased dramatically, and their Decca records became extremely popular.

Just as their career was back in full swing, Sara and A.P.'s marriage fell apart, with the couple divorcing in 1939. Nevertheless, the Carter Family continued to perform, remaining in Texas until 1941, when they moved to a radio station in Charlotte, NC. During the early '40s, the band briefly recorded for Columbia before re-signing with Victor in 1941. Two years later, Sara decided to retire and move out to California with her new husband, Coy Bayes (who was A.P.'s cousin), while A.P. moved back to Virginia, where he ran a country store. Maybelle Carter began recording and touring with her daughters, Helen, June, and Anita.

A.P. and Sara re-formed the Carter Family with their grown children in 1952, performing a concert in Maces Spring. Following the successful concert, the Kentucky-based Acme signed A.P., Sara, and their daughter Janette to a contract, and over the next four years they recorded nearly 100 songs that didn't gain much attention at the time. In 1956, the Carter Family disbanded for the second time. Four years later, A.P. died at his Maces Spring home. Following his death, the Carter Family's original recordings began to be reissued. In 1966, Maybelle persuaded Sara to reunite to play a number of folk festivals and record an album for Columbia. In 1970, the Carter Family became the first group to be elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame, which is a fitting tribute to their immense influence and legacy. ~ David Vinopal, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Acme Sessions 1952-56

Disc 1
Disc 2
x

Track List: In The Shadow Of Clinch Mountain

Disc 1
Disc 2
Disc 3
Disc 4
Disc 5
Disc 6
Disc 7
Disc 8
Disc 9
Disc 10
Disc 11
Disc 12

Comments

I just love the Carter family
Best family band
my dear Mother Mabel Larkey McKay, grew up in Mace Springs, Va. and was friends with AP Carter. My Grand Ma Larkey,( Alice ), is buried in the : Mount Vernon Vernon Methodest cemetery. a beautifull place. use to love to take my Mother over there to visit, wonderfull memories . larry McKay, Cayce, sc
I agree originals! Along with Jimmie Rodgers!
They are truly originals. Along with the Blue Yodeler, they were the beginning of it all.
I wasn't familiar with there history until I read the Bio, I knew of the Carter
Family threw June Carter and Johnny Cash. I Love their music . God bless them for their contribution to history and to the enrichment of a million lives R.Walker
stephen - i am glad that you nicked lifes door and lived to tell.
Stephen- WHAAAAT???
I have came into the world with a Bang. It was reveald to me in the early part of my life. I have learnd the majice in life in the comming of a silance man. It reveald it's light in the begaining of my teens And I was fifteen when I was tested in living a life as a Disabled. Thats right I nicked lifes door I was in a coma and a massive head injury, I when I had my injury, I was out for months on end. Giving time for my brain to heel and get back to the life i was living before the instance
i love the Carter family, they make me feel like i am in Earlville ny again..
debbierobert s 2
The Carter family was just like jewel. Locked up in the attic like a valuable piece of jewelry
EVERY BODY THATS PICKED UP A GUITAR USUALLY LEARNS TO PLAY THE WILDWOOD FLOWERS AFTER THIS LONG ITS STILLA PRETY SONG
brings tears to the eyes
the carter family should be locked up down in the basement of fort knox.

just kidding.
You can still see and hear the Carter's at their homeplace in Hilton, VA. The Carter Family Fold features accoustic only performances throughout the summer.
the very best,..
Having seen Joe and Jeanette on stage at the Carter Fold, it is a real treat to listen to the original Carter Family members sing. Wish we could have met them as well, but some passed before we were old enough to enjoy them.

We're sorry, but a browser plugin or firewall may be preventing Pandora from loading.

In order to use Pandora internet radio, please upgrade to a more current browser.

Please check our Help page for more information.

In order to use Pandora internet radio, please upgrade to a more current browser
or install a newer version of Flash (v.10 or later).

In order to use Pandora internet radio, please install Adobe Flash (v.10 or later).

[84, 71, 98, 75, 125, 116, 85, 66, 112, 74, 106, 91, 65, 101, 67, 118, 87, 76, 93, 116, 116, 79, 84, 122, 77, 77, 110, 83, 91, 85, 106, 90, 105, 91, 85, 122, 97, 77, 70, 69, 113, 69, 104, 125, 81, 94, 71, 65, 101, 79, 67, 88, 122, 112, 82, 120, 91, 111, 86, 119, 101, 98, 69, 115, 98, 112, 85, 112, 85, 77, 76, 80, 87, 101, 106, 119, 103, 113, 74, 111, 101, 78, 111, 97, 98, 64, 106, 122, 90, 125, 118, 112, 87, 110, 87, 93, 89, 116, 105, 77, 84, 70, 91, 125, 108, 74, 105, 64, 127, 112, 96, 88, 115, 120, 86, 71, 79, 85, 115, 117, 107, 107, 79, 73, 100, 102, 68, 108, 69, 114, 119, 71, 64, 108, 117, 72, 72, 92, 109, 64, 94, 76, 118, 76, 117, 81, 75, 90, 109, 75, 67, 92, 102, 116, 126, 127, 97, 91, 120, 124, 127, 80, 126, 118, 87, 107, 106, 76, 96, 78, 69, 78, 96, 107, 74, 76, 88, 114, 120, 83, 97, 72, 113, 83, 127, 120, 110, 118, 110, 74, 91, 75, 122, 77, 76, 81, 98, 118, 110, 69, 71, 127, 119, 75, 125, 90, 114, 105, 78, 99, 78, 100, 68, 118, 68, 107, 117, 78, 80, 89, 100, 95, 126, 79, 88, 91, 122, 122, 120, 94, 91, 122, 81, 102, 71, 115, 120, 117, 108, 127, 124, 97, 87, 104, 121, 107, 89, 92, 110, 113, 124, 73, 65, 113, 73, 111, 105, 120, 87, 122, 65, 109, 78, 103, 114, 103, 116, 73, 65, 117, 119, 76, 89, 119, 69, 83, 93, 79, 117, 79, 93, 97, 77, 107, 91, 122, 84, 112, 72, 102, 98, 82, 77, 65, 108, 84, 120, 108, 76, 121, 71, 104, 120, 98, 72, 125, 96, 76, 79, 100, 79, 95, 90, 94, 115, 77, 69, 80, 82, 73, 100, 104, 120, 123, 94, 105, 69, 104, 64, 100, 115, 87, 127, 90, 104, 67, 97, 114, 116, 125, 77, 86, 73, 116, 65, 89, 64, 99, 75, 77, 88, 110, 98, 86, 68, 118, 84, 79, 95, 108, 74, 81, 70, 89, 77, 101, 74, 64, 109, 124, 86, 73, 111, 106, 94, 69, 127, 124, 95, 95, 80, 127, 65, 122, 113, 118, 105, 82, 79, 86, 90, 69, 74, 115, 108, 99, 111, 105, 116, 86, 96, 122, 114, 72, 112, 115, 125, 69, 105, 105, 80, 99, 77, 73, 105, 84, 116, 113, 115, 127, 95, 75, 127, 101, 78, 64, 72, 80, 77, 125, 87, 77, 121, 74, 111, 92, 97, 103, 93, 110, 70, 81, 78, 71, 116, 76, 64, 119, 98, 74, 124, 80, 124, 75, 107, 111, 107, 70, 86, 90, 126, 116, 88, 69, 99, 88, 82, 74, 94, 126, 125, 116, 93, 68, 118, 69, 105, 119, 66, 116, 113, 114, 89, 87, 74, 123, 100, 79, 125, 77, 104, 112, 117, 104, 111, 86, 127, 93, 70, 123, 111, 105, 94, 99, 116, 81, 88, 106, 103, 107, 121, 76]