Released April 8, 2014
"This new album, produced by Don Was, is evocative, mature, and consistently impressive... A strong and very welcome showing for one of pop music’s long-missed characters, now back again." DAVE DiMARTINO, ROLLING STONE
- Little Black Train (A.P. Carter)
- Give Me the Roses (A.P. Carter)
- Me and the Wildwood Rose (Carlene Carter)
- Blackie’s Gunman duet with Elizabeth Cook (A.P. Carter)
- I’ll Be All Smiles Tonight (A.P. Carter)
- Poor Old Heartsick Me (Helen Carter)
- Troublesome Waters duet with Willie Nelson (Maybelle Carter/Ezra Carter/Dixie Dean Hall)
- Lonesome Valley 2003 with special guest Vince Gill (Carlene Carter/A.P. Carter/Al Anderson)
- Tall Lover Man (June Carter Cash)
- Gold Watch and Chain (A.P. Carter)
- Black Jack David duet with Kris Kristofferson (A.P. Carter)
- I Ain’t Gonna Work Tomorrow featuring Helen Carter, Anita Carter, June Carter Cash and Johnny Cash (A.P. Carter)
Carlene Carter − vocal, acoustic guitar, acoustic "Carter Scratch" guitar, piano, vocal harmony.
Joe Breen – backing vocals, vocal harmony.
Sam Bush – mandolin.
Lorrie Carter Bennett – vocal harmony.
Cowboy Jack Clement – acoustic guitar.
Elizabeth Cook – vocal, backing vocals, vocal harmony.
Vince Gill − vocal harmony.
Rami Jaffee − Hammond organ, keyboards, piano.
Jim Keltner – drums, percussion.
Kris Kristofferson – vocal, vocal harmony.
Greg Leisz – steel guitar, acoustic and electric guitars.
Val McCallum – guitar, electric guitar.
Blake Mills – guitars, acoustic and electric guitars.
Willie Nelson − lead solo guitar, vocal harmony.
Mickey Raphael − harmonica.
Don Was − bass.
Don Was – Producer.
Recorded by Howard Willing.
2nd Engineers: Wesley Seidman, Jeff Gartenbaum, Clinton Welander.
Additional Engineering: Matt Rausch, Chris Wilkinson.
Recorded at Ocean Way Recording, Hollywood, CA; The Village Studios, West Los Angeles, CA; Sunset Sound Studios, Hollywood, CA; House of Blues Studios, Nashville, TN.
Mixed by Bob Clearmountain.
Mixed at Mix This! Studios, Pacific Palisades, CA.
Assisted by Sergio Ruelas Jr.
Mastered by Paul Blakemore at CMG Mastering.
Production Coordinator: Ivy Skoff.
Assistant to Carlene Carter: Tiffany Anastasia Lowe.
The Carter Family photographs courtesy of Carlene Carter and The Carter Family.
Package Design: Larissa Collins.
(****) The two originals are deeply moving, but her interpretations of the Carter Family's songbook are also heartfelt and impressive. There's as much rock and blues as country in her takes on "Little Black Train," "Blackie's Gunman," and "Blackjack David," but Carter approaches these songs as something fresh and vital, and she fills them with her own fearless spirit... On Carter Girl, Carlene Carter has confronted the mighty legacy of the Carter Family's songbook and allowed it to strengthen her music rather than buckling under its weight, and this ranks with her finest recorded work to date.
MARK DEMING, ALLMUSIC
...what Carlene is doing here is fascinating. They are old songs, though here they aren’t distinguished that way at all. Here they are just songs, with a message and a delivery so modern that they could have been written yesterday... In fact, it’s a delight on all sorts of levels, not the least of which being that the album achieves so beautifully, entertainingly, the thing that it set out to do: revisit the fold.
GLEN HERBERT, HUDSON VALLEY BLUEGRASS ASSOCIATION (February 21, 2014)
...she controls her considerable talent with dignity and stylish tribute, not imitation... Suffice to say that this album is the real thing amidst so much that is good and so much more that is just slowed down pop songs played with acoustic instruments.
BRIAN ARSENAULT, THE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW OF MUSIC (March 3, 2014)
(****1/2) This album is a spirited, sensitive masterpiece by one of the Carter Family Royalty--Carlene Carter. Her most ambitious, fully-realised work to date... Carlene manages to sound simultaneously contemporary and traditional, and her clear-as-a-bell voice is showcased to its fullest.
ALAN CACKETT, ALANCACKETT.COM
Carlene Carter's new album Carter Girl (Rounder), a tribute to the musical heritage of her fabled family, is a triumph... Carter Girl is that rare contemporary album with a cohesiveness that rewards listening from start to finish.
MICHAEL SIGMAN, HUFFPOST ENTERTAINMENT (March 30, 2014)
Carter’s pose on the cover evokes her mother, but this isn’t meant to be a sepia-toned reproduction of those old songs. Instead, Carter brings them into her musical world — charging June Carter’s murder-suicide ballad "Tall Lover Man" with the sort of twangy, poppy, country-rock treatment that has always been the daughter’s calling card, giving an update to A.P. Carter’s "Lonesome Valley" via the soulful mourn of "Lonesome Valley 2003," and reprising her own "Me and the Wildwood Rose" to sing her memories of time spent on the road with the Carter Sisters. This may be the best record this Carter girl has ever made.
STUART MUNRO, THE BOSTON GLOBE (April 1, 2014)
Carlene Carter has made the album of her life, and to hear her find herself so completely is a near-religious experience... This album, produced by Don Was, featuring some of the finest players on the planet and including all-time Carlene Carter original "Me and the Wildwood Rose," will hopefully allow the stellar singer to reach her deserving place on the history roll call, and prove once and for all this circle will surely remain unbroken.
BILL BENTLEY, THE MORTON REPORT (April 2, 2014)
What Carlene Carter does on Carter Girl is significant. She doesn't approach these old songs as sacred relics to be enshrined with pious respect. Rather, she treats them like living, vital pieces of art that can withstand being taken apart, thought about and re-imagined... In the process, she comes up with her own excellent piece of work... on its own terms, Carter Girl is as strong as anything Carter has ever recorded. It carries the heavy burden of history lightly, and yet never flinches at the seriousness of the lives she's singing about, including her own.
KEN TUCKER, NPR MUSIC (April 4, 2014)
ALBUM OF THE WEEK (***1/2 out of four stars.) Friends and relations pop up as guests, among them Willie Nelson (Troublesome Waters), Kris Kristofferson (Black Jack David) and Vince Gill (Lonesome Valley 2003). Still, Carter's dusky, honeyed voice holds its own, spanning generations and emotions with the grace she has both inherited and earned.
ELYSA GARDNER, USA TODAY (April 7, 2014)
Carlene Carter proves just how personal, and powerful, a tribute album can be... "Carter Girl" has a rare power, drawn from memories, tears and years of finding strength in these songs of blood and legacy... Like the songs she's recorded, this is an album for the ages.
MICHAEL McCALL, ASSOCIATED PRESS (April 7, 2014)
It may have been a while since you’ve considered Carlene Carter; to a certain generation, she was the cute & spry American babe who headed to the UK and struck up some relationships there, nearly all of them musical. Much has happened--she’s back now, recording for Rounder Records, and this new album, produced by Don Was, is evocative, mature, and consistently impressive. With the inevitably top-heavy guest list — on hand are Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Vince Gill and about the best musicians you can find — Carter Girl in 2014 ironically sounds more like a country album than most of last week’s ACM winners, which themselves seem to be subtly aping the sort of albums Carter herself made back in 1979. Oh well. A strong and very welcome showing for one of pop music’s long-missed characters, now back again.
DAVE DiMARTINO, ROLLING STONE (April 8, 2014)
Beyond her storied career straddling punk’s emergence, the ascendence of post-country’s first real credibility scare and the rock fringe she hung out on writing and singing with members of the Doobie Brothers and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, she was in her soul always a Carter.
HOLLY GLEASON, PASTE MAGAZINE (April 29, 2014)
(*****) ...this is unashamedly traditional: committed, personal and really quite perfect.
SYLVIE SIMMONS, MOJO MAGAZINE UK (May 2014)
Carlene Carter has been mixing country, blues and rock since her debut with The Rumor back in the 70s. Step daughter of The Man in Black and daughter of June, Carter has had a career that is as open nerved as a country song itself. This latest excellent outing has her doing material from various members of the Carter family (including herself)... Carter herself sounds in rich and mature form...
GEORGE W. HARRIS, JAZZ WEEKLY (May 26, 2014)
If there's a better hardcore country record in 2014 than Carlene Carter's Carter Girl, I haven't heard it... What cannot go unmentioned here is a simple fact: Carlene Carter is one of the greatest living country vocalists. Like Loretta, like Tammy, like June - like George Jones or Merle Haggard - she's got that sob in her voice... Carlene Carter's new masterpiece spans a century of music, but by implication contains the whole of human history in an unbroken circle. She -- and her elders -- have given us this gift.
MICHAEL SIMMONS, HUFFPOST ENTERTAINMENT (June 8, 2014)