After more than ten years living in California, Carlene Carter has returned to live in Nashville, the place where her familial and musical roots run deepest. "Tennessee was calling me," she relates.
The daughter of country music greats and Nashville legends June Carter and Carl Smith and the stepdaughter of Johnny Cash, Carlene aims to pick up where she left off and become a vital member of the Nashville creative community. That intent is underscored by a performance series at Nashville's legendary Bluebird Café that she's curating titled "Carlene Carter's Wonderful World of Women Who Write." As the title indicates, she'll be joined on three Tuesdays in October by kindred female songwriters of note.
The WWOWWW schedule is as follows:
Oct. 2 – with Lilly Hiatt and Elizabeth Cook
Oct. 16 – with Lauren Morrow and Pam Tillis
Oct. 30 – with Gretchen Peters and Matraca Berg
From her newly occupied residence in East Nashville, Carlene confides, "I was thinking about how we try to balance being women and all that entails as far as being partners in life and pursuing our creativity. It's a balancing act that only other women can fully appreciate." As far as the upcoming series at the Bluebird is concerned, she says, "I really wanted to say, 'Hey, I'm back home and ready to embrace the sisterhood of songwriting.' I had really missed the collaborative aspect that Nashville offers -- it's a secret sisterhood with us girls rooting for each other."
After she started unpacking boxes and getting settled, she conceptualized the series and reached out to fellow women songwriters. "Nobody said 'no' for any other reason than scheduling conflicts," she revealed. The final line-up is a mix of long-standing friends and newer emerging talents. "Pam and I came up together so we had that common bond of parents in the business and I've known Matraca for a long time, too. Elizabeth Cook and I became instant friends from the moment we met. I had known her music and her Welder album was the inspiration for me to recruit Don Was to produce my own Carter Girl album. Wouldn't you know it? She ended up singing on half of the album's tracks. I'm so thankful that Gretchen fitted in the date in the midst of her massive tour. She's so sweet."
Of her other "co-conspirators," she commented "I've known Lilly Hiatt's dad (John Hiatt) forever and I'd become aware of her for some time now. I really like what she's doing and we made an effort to include younger women in the series and she's certainly that. Lauren Morrow who has a new recording coming out right now told Pam and me that we were both influential so that's very flattering and she's terrific."
Carlene who grew up in Madison is delighted to be back home. "I run into people I know on the street and feel more engaged in life now that I'm back. I'm in my 60s and don't want to miss anything! I find living in the mecca of live music to be really inspirational." Another inducement for her return is the fact that 7 of her 8 grandchildren live in Nashville.
As far as the title for the series, apart from her admiration for the other artists who are joining her, she claims, "I'm a frickin' Wonder Woman because I'm still alive!" And she's loving life in Nashville.
Reservations will be available on a pre-paid basis for $25.00 one week ahead of each show date at www.bluebirdcafe.com