This week the theme is to find Country songs, which is right up my alley. Jim talked the Bristol Sessions, Bristol indeed considered the birthplace of country music. It is also where I lived for a number of years. My family still lives in this area and there is still live music at the Carter Fold.
So what better way to salute country music than to honor the Carter and Cash families and a few other country legends.
Mother Maybelle Carter was a pioneer in country music. She developed a unique style on the guitar (now known as the Carter Scratch) and learned a blues finger picking style from African American musician and family friend Leslie Riddle. Maybelle Carter is credited with influencing the guitar’s place in country music. In the video below, she plays Wildwood Flower (the song my mother felt every ‘real’ guitarist should be able to play.) Like so many country classics, the lyrics have changed slightly over the years. You can find them here.
Johnny Cash is a legend of country music no doubt, and I will not attempt to do his biography justice here. His life originated as J. R. Cash in Kingsland, Arkansas. (His parents could not agree on his name, thus the initials. When he joined the Air Force, he was told he could not have initials as a first name, so he became John R. Cash. The military changed the spelling of our surname as well so this was not unusual.) From a poor cotton farm to the world stage, he became a legend. His life was fraught with a drug addiction off and on from the late 1950s until the early 1990s. “I Still Miss Someone” is one of my favorites that I had the privilege to see him perform live. The lyrics can be found here.
June Carter Cash was the daughter of Maybelle and A.P. Carter. The Carter Family’s popularity exploded after The Bristol Sessions and they are often referred to as the first family of country music. Their harmonies laid the foundation for the harmony styles for years to follow. She traveled with her mother and sister as part of the trio “Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters”. She and Johnny Cash had an affair while both were still married. According to some articles, she is credited with co-writing “Ring of Fire” with Merle Kilgore about her affair with Johnny Cash. This is disputed By Vivian Liberto Cash (Johnny’s first wife). “Jackson” was one of their more recognized songs they performed together. You can find the lyrics here.
Roseanne Cash is the daughter of Johnny Cash and his first wife, Vivian Liberto. Her parents were divorced when she was 12 years old. While she traveled on the road with her father initially as his wardrobe assistant, she had not planned on a musical career. 15 albums, 12 Grammy nominations and 4 Grammy’s later, she is a recognized singer and composer in her own right. The song that follows, “Tennessee Flattop Box”, is a recording of one of her father’s songs and one of my personal favorites. You can find the lyrics here.
I saw the Highwaymen in a tiny little venue in Augusta, Maine. The venue was so small you were really sharing the stage with some of the true legends of country music. The Highwaymen (Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson) recorded three albums, two for Columbia records and one for Liberty records. These artists were the ‘outlaws’ of country music. The song “The Highwayman” was written by American songwriter Jimmy Webb. When The Highwaymen recorded this song in 1986, it awarded Jimmy Webb a Grammy. You can find the lyrics here.
Thank you, Jim. This was a fun challenge for me this week.
Song Lyric Sunday is hosted every Sunday by Jim Adams. If you would like to join in the fun, check out his blog for the rules and to take in all the other music posted by other bloggers.