Various Artists

By - Jun 1st, 2007 02:52 pm
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By Nikki Butgereit

Anchored In Love: A Tribute to June Carter Cash is the musical counterpart to John Carter’s biography of his mother. Clearly, this album was a labor of love, not just for the grieving son, but for the artists and relatives who came together to celebrate Carter Cash’s musical legacy.

The album opens with Sheryl Crow and Willie Nelson’s duet of “If I Were a Carpenter.” The song evokes June’s relationship with Johnny Cash, and the contrast between the older and younger artists throughout reinforces the tone of the album – today’s country music principals honoring the music of the past. To that end, Brad Paisley sheds all traces of modern country on his cover of “Keep On The Sunny Side.”

The plucky banjo and lilting vocals of The Peasall Sisters and Billy Bob Thornton’s husky spoken word on “Road to Kaintuck” form just the right juxtaposition to elicit memories of an old-time radio show. But the album’s standout track is Elvis Costello’s slowed-down version of “Ring of Fire,” which removes all of the gritty urgency of Johnny Cash’s version and turns the song back into a true ballad.

The inclusion of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” reinforces the strong impact that June Carter Cash and her family had on folk and country music. The songs are classic, and the lyrics and melodies as quaint as they are strong, much like the woman herself. The Carter family’s footprint on the landscape of modern country is large and deep, and Anchored In Love is a fitting tribute to an influential voice. VS

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