The award-winning documentary “The Winding Stream: The Carters, The Cashes and the Course of Country Music” chronicles the career and influence of country pioneers The Carter Family. The influences of the original Carter Family — spearheaded by A.P. Carter, wife Sara and sister-in-law Maybelle — lingers to this day and has helped shape the genre.
The film’s soundtrack album is the perfect companion piece to Beth Harrington’s documentary. The 16-track platter features songs of the Carters performed by, among others, the Original Carter Family, Johnny Cash, John Prine, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Kris Kristofferson, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Rosanne Cash, George Jones, Murry Hammond and Grey DeLisle.
“The story of the Carter Family is one about gleaning the best of American roots music and passing iton,” Harrington notes. “That’s what the Carters did with their song collecting and writing and that’s what happened with their music down through the generations of family music-makers as well as other musicians. The soundtrack to the film is in that tradition, highlighting the work of the Carters themselves as well as a variety of family and friends interpreting that music.”
This record is a must for fans of the Carters and old-time country. There isn’t a misfire in the bunch (though some of the older recordings are a bit scratchy), but pay special attention to Prine’s take on “Bear Creek Blues,” Jones’ “Worried Man Blues,” Johnny Cash and The Carter Sisters’ “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and Rosanne Cash’s set-closing title track. The Carter Family soars highest here on “Single Girl, Married Girl,” “Cannon Ball Blues” and ”Wildwood Flower.” Enjoy, y’all. (Jeffrey Sisk)