Carlene on "Nashville Demystified" podcast with Alex Steed 

Today we talk with the wonderful Carlene Carter. This is not an official installment of Music City Tales from the 1980s, though it’s strongly related. Let’s say that it’s a companion episode. 

Carlene Carter is a legendary singer with a career that spans over four decades. She has released a dozen albums on her own, and she has recorded as a member of The Carter Family. Over the past few years she has collaborated extensively with John Mellencamp.

Click to listen here: One time Carlene Carter was Awarded a Key to the Jail

Celebrate the Season with CC & Friends! 

Join us as we kick-off our Heritage Music Series with Carlene Carter & Friends for an evening filled with Music, Spirits, and Fun! Guests will enjoy a Southern Christmas grazing table & drinks with food by The Go Go Gourmet, MACC swag bags for all attendees, and 10% off at the MACC gift shop. The fun begins Saturday, December 21, 2019 at 6:00 pm. $40 per person. Seats are limited so make your reservations HERE!
Questions or to order by phone, call (615) 822-0789.


Carlene Carter with The Carter Family at Cash Fest and Grand Ole Opry! 

It has just been announced that Carlene Carter along with multiple generations of The Carter Family, will be appearing at Cash Fest on Sunday, November 10 at Nashville’s War Memorial Auditorium.  The event coincides with the release of The Gift, the YouTube documentary that chronicles and celebrates “The Journey of Johnny Cash.”  The concert is being produced by Best Fest which, in the past, has presented Dylan Fest, Petty Fest, Neil Fest, Stones Fest and other tribute concert programs in New York, Los Angeles, Austin, San Francisco and Nashville.  Among the other artists slated to perform at Cash Fest are Little Big Town, Dennis Quaid, Perry and Etty Farrell, Elle King, Todd Snider, Grace Potter as well as John Carter Cash and Ana Christina Cash.

Carlene is, of course, the daughter of June Carter who married Johnny Cash on March 1, 1968 when Carlene was still a pre-teen.  She grew up in the home of her stepfather whom she always referred to as “Big John.”  She toured and appeared on TV with Cash at an early age as part of the iteration of The Carter Family that included her grandmother, Mother Maybelle Carter, her mother as well as her aunts Helen and Anita.  The legacy of the Carter Family looms large in country music history and was a focus of the celebrated Ken Burns’ Country Music series in which Carlene appears numerous times.  More recently, Reviver Entertainment Group’s Legacy label released The Carter Family – Across Generations, produced by John Carter Cash, Johnny and June’s son and Carlene’s brother.  The project juxtaposes five generations of the Carter Family on one album with Carlene playing a pivotal role; it serves as an audio thread to tell the story of country music’s undisputed first family and Johnny Cash is heard on three of the album’s tracks.

At Cash Fest, Carlene Carter with The Carter Family will include Dale Jett, Tiffany Anastasia Lowe, Lorrie Carter Bennett and John Carter Cash.  Dale Jett is a grandson of A.P. and Sara Carter, Lorrie Carter Bennett is a granddaughter of Mother Maybelle Carter and daughter of Anita Carter, Tiffany Anastasia Lowe is Carlene’s daughter and great granddaughter of Mother Maybelle Carter.  The event will mark the second public performance of Carlene Carter with The Carter Family, as they debut earlier in the week when they guest on The Grand Ole Opry on Tuesday, November 5th.

Carlene commented, “Big John respected, admired and lived the music of The Carter Family. In a sense, they became his own family even before he married momma. Grandma (Maybelle) loved him and provided him with a soft place to land in her home when he was struggling with addiction. I believe that Carter Family music took him back to his childhood in Dyess when he first heard them on the radio. He was drawn to The Carter Family by destiny because the way he felt when he sang with them was always meant to be.”

Carlene Carter's Wonderful World of Women Who Write (plus a couple of guys) Back at Bluebird Cafe! 

Last fall, in celebration of her return to Nashville, Carlene Carter organized a series of performances at the Bluebird Café in which she invited other female songwriters to join her in a series she dubbed Carlene Carter’s Wonderful World of Women Who Write.  Now, from her new base in her hometown of Madison, TN, and in the wake of her pervasive presence on the Ken Burns Country Music series, this celebrated “Carter Girl” has put together two more evenings under that same banner.  They’re set for two successive Wednesdays, October 30 and November 6. Rolling Stone declared the WWOWWW sessions “yet another reminder of the empowering role of women in country music” and “a musical homecoming shared with family and friends.”  This month is doubly propitious for Carlene as it marks the release of The Carter Family - Across Generations from Reviver’s Legacy label.  Produced by her brother, John Carter Cash, it is the first time that all five generations of the Carter Family are housed, so to speak, under one musical roof.

This year’s WWOWWW kicks off on October 30 with guests Terri Clark and Erin Enderlin.  Terri Clark who hails from Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, made her way to Nashville in the late 80s and, from her first local performance at Tootsie’s Orchard Lounge, proceeded to become one of the top selling country artists, female or otherwise, of the era.  To date she’s sold 5 million albums, has been inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and is currently the only Canadian woman on the Grand Ole Opry.  Her top 10 hits include “Better Things To Do,” “If I Were You,” “Poor Poor Pitiful Me,” “Emotional Girl,” “Now That I Found You,” “You’re Easy on the Eyes” and “I Just Wanna Be Mad.”  She’s had a hand in writing many of her own hits and hosts an internationally syndicated “Country Gold” radio show heard on 165 stations through Westwood One.

A comparative newcomer to Nashville, Erin Enderlin began writing songs in her native Conway, Arkansas at the age of ten.  She moved to Nashville to attend Middle Tennessee State University and by her senior year had co-written a Top 5 single (“Monday Morning Church“) for Alan Jackson.  Other artists who have recorded her songs include Lee Ann Womack, Luke Bryant, Randy Travis, Reba McEntire, Bill Anderson and Jeannie Seely.  No less a talent than fellow songwriter and “Wonderful World of Women...” participant Terri Clark recorded five Erin Enderlin songs on her recent Raising The Bar album.

The November 6th installment perhaps, mandates an asterisk in light of the fact that two of the performers are decidedly not female.  Matraca Berg, of course, is and she’s making a return WWOWW appearance.  This CMA Song of the Year Award winner and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee has had her songs recorded by Ray Price, Tanya Tucker, Patty Loveless, Randy Travis, Deana Carter, Trisha Yearwood.  Reba McEntire took Matraca’s  The Last One To Know” to #1 on Billboard’s country Singles Chart.

Matraca’s husband is Jeff Hanna, who is a founding member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and will be joining the WWOWW session in support, both musical and elsewise.  He’s a multi-instrumentalist, arranger, producer and songwriter of note.  His music having been recorded by Linda Ronstadt, Suzy Bogguss, Patty Loveless, Emmylou Harris, Johnny Cash, Carlene’s mother June Carter Cash, Steve Martin and, quite naturally Matraca Berg.  He is co-writer of “Bless the Broken Road” which earned him a Grammy for Best Country Song as recorded by Rascal Flatts.

Lastly, John Oates, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and half of the legendary duo Hall and Oates that has been part of the American musical landscape since the early 1970s will be featured.  Oates has pursued solo projects over the years and maintains a residence in Nashville.  He bonded with Carlene at the recent introduction of the new Johnny Cash Martin Guitar and, of course, one thing led to another which landed him on the bill at WWOWWW.  His recent Arkansas album release is focused on rural blues and roots country music so, irrespective of such rock classics as “Maneater,” “Rich Girl” and “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)”, he promises to be a good fit with the WWOWWW’s nurturing acoustic ambiance.

Reservations will be available on a pre-paid basis for $25.00 one week ahead of each show date at

Carlene on new Carter Family album! 

The Carter Family Across Generations track listing: Farther On (Traditional), My Clinch Mountain Home (A.P. Carter), Gold Watch and Chain (A.P. Carter), Worried Man Blues (A.P. Carter), Winding Stream (A.P. Carter), I Never Will Marry (A.P. Carter), Amber Tresses (A.P. Carter), Maybelle (Danny Carter Jones, David Carter Jones), Diamonds In The Rough (A.P. Carter), Don’t Forget This Song (A.P. Carter), Foggy Mountain Top (A.P. Carter), Will the Circle Be Unbroken? (A.P. Carter), Maybelle’s New Tune (Maybelle Carter). Link to order/hear: The Carter Family - Across Generations

Remembering Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977) 

Thinking of Elvis today:-) When he passed I got the call from Mae Axton (wrote Heartbreak Hotel) she said “I wanted to let you know before you heard it on the news!” I was a bit confused by this as he was Momma’s friend! He was my first musical addiction apparently! When I was a baby Momma said Mystery Train was the only thing she could get me to stop crying for and while she danced around with me I would finally let go and fall asleep:-)!! Later he would push me around Central Park in my baby carriage while Mom was in NYC studying acting! Wish I could say I met him when I was old enough to remember. Still I think my body remembers the music as I can never stand still when I hear it:-)

Carlene on Outlaw Country Cruise 5! 

Join a boat full of beautiful Outlaw people and set sail on the fifth annual Outlaw Country Cruise! Enjoy another year of musical heaven on the high seas and get onboard the Norwegian Pearl from January 29 through February 3, 2020 as it sails from Miami to Key West, Florida and Falmouth, Jamaica!  Carlene returns with many of her friends including The Mavericks, Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, Elizabeth Cook, Bottle Rockets, Jim Lauderdale, NRBQ, Rosie Flores, and many more!  Click the pic below for all the details:


CARLENE CARTER'S WONDERFUL WORLD OF WOMEN WHO WRITE Series at The Bluebird Heralds Nashville Return! 

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

Carlene and June on Jeopardy! 

Thank you to our good friend and original Fan Club member Patrick Hnidka, who sent us this picture. He said the category was "Hi, Mom" (in honor of Mother's Day on Sunday), and that in answering this question, "One of the women said 'Rosanne Cash' and then the guy answered 'June Carter Cash'!"

C'est C Bon Reissued on CD in UK! 

Carlene's 5th album, C'est C Bon, originally released by Epic Records in 1983, has just been reissued on CD by the UK label Floating World Records. Lyndon Bolton in No Depression magazine wrote: "C'est C Bon has value for three reasons, all united by the perspective time brings; It shows just how far Carter has come to reach her deserved position among country’s great artists, it demonstrates her versatility, particularly vocally, and it is a fascinating glimpse into the way she immersed herself in the early 1980’s UK music scene."