From Brooklyn to Clinch Mountain: The Carter Family Project
We have to give a huge thank you to Beth Harrington, via her forthcoming film The Winding Stream: The Carters, The Cashes and the Course of Country Music, for encouraging us to discover The Carter Family Project:
Fran Leadon and Leigh Anderson of Brooklyn, NY attempt to record every single song that the Carter Family ever cut.Just like the original recordings, these are lo-fi and low-budget. We are using a H2 Zoom recorder propped on a chair in our living room. Fran plays a homemade D-18 guitar and sometimes a 1959 Martin 0-18. Leigh plays an early 1950s Epiphone upright bass.We grew up listening to the Carter Family. The rules for this project are simple: record the songs in chronological sequence, beginning with the first 1927 Bristol sessions recordings, don’t worry too much about flubs, and get everything recorded while the baby is napping.
Today we finally began something we’d talked about for the last year: recording every single Carter Family song that the original lineup (Sara, Maybelle, A.P.) ever recorded, beginning with their legendary Bristol sessions in 1927. We haven’t had a chance to start because our 14-month old, Ben, takes a lot of time and we’ve been working on writing projects and teaching. But now it’s summer, and so after lunch we decided to try to “cut” a few numbers while Ben was taking his afternoon nap.
As usual, Ben’s timing was not lined up perfectly with ours, and he woke up from his nap right when we got tuned up and ready to go. So we recorded “Bury Me Under the Weeping Willow” with him still in the crib. Then we got him up, changed his diaper, gave him some milk, and plopped him into his playpen, about six feet away from the mic.