June Carter Cash

By - Oct 1st, 2003 02:52 pm
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By Brian Barney

JUNE CARTER CASH Wildwood Flower Dualtone Records

The heartbreaking beauty of June Carter Cash’s last record, Wildwood Flower, defies description. The tracks flow in an autobiographical movement, where the purest of instrumentation provides the background for songs that tell the stories of a life based on tradition, and values that escape the trappings of politics and trend.

The CD is an obvious final testament to her 2002 visit to her parents’ home in Virginia, where she sat on the back porch, singing family classics with husband Johnny, and her cousins, Janette and Joe Carter. What followed was a two day recording session producing 14 songs, eight of which are heard on Wildwood Flower. Opening track “Keep on the Sunny Side” sets the tone with rich, full bodied, piercingly bright 6-strings that provide accompaniment to her voice which, while somewhat quavering, resonates with as much strength and emotion as the version recorded by her late mother on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s Will The Circle Be Unbroken.

The enchantment continues throughout with gut-wrenchers like “Storms Are On The Ocean” with its’ string arrangements so achingly beautiful that…well…let’s just say, it could set a grown man to weepin’. There is also an air of fun and abandon in tracks like “Temptation,” and snippets of conversation between June and family spanning time from early Opry days to the current sessions.

Standout tracks featuring flat top at its’ best can be found in “Alcatraz” and “Cannonball Blues,” while gospel meant for hand holding and praise is displayed in classics like “Anchored in Love.” The Carter/Cash coalition has long been considered by many to be the most important and influential contribution to Americana and country music ever, and proof of that is certainly found in this must-have record.

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