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Country: Bluegrass Moods: Mood: Dreamy Folk: Appalachian Folk

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Antique Persuasion

Tribute to The Original Carter Family

Don’t Forget Me Little Darling – Remembering The Carter Family

When The Carter Family stepped inside a temporary recording studio in Bristol, Tennessee in 1927 for the very first time they could not have imagined they were making musical history. Hoping only to earn a few extra dollars with their music, the trio wasn’t just breaking new ground – they were helping to lay a firm foundation for a musical genre that flourishes nearly a century later. This little family band from Maces Springs, Virginia included A.P. (Alvin Pleasant) Delaney Carter, his wife Sara, and Maybelle Carter (Sara’s cousin), wife of Ezra Carter (A.P.’s brother). A.P. had learned that a talent scout from the Victor Talking Machine Company would be in Bristol for two weeks to record regional musicians. He convinced his wife and sister-in-law to make the trip with him. That humble recording session launched the careers of The Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers and eventually became known as “the Big Bang of Country Music.” In 1998, Congress declared Bristol “the Birthplace of Country Music.” And that little mountain trio, The Carter Family, cast a giant footprint in which every country and bluegrass musician has since followed.

Now, another A.P. – Antique Persuasion – is honoring the original trio of A.P., Sara, and Maybelle with this unique collection of Carter Family classics. Antique Persuasion, like The Carter Family, brings two female voices and one male voice together on a dozen of the Carters’ best songs. This tribute album includes “Bury Me Under The Weeping Willow,” which the Carters recorded at the original Bristol sessions and “You’re Gonna Be Sorry Cause You Let Me Down,” the last song ever recorded by The Carter Family.

Bluegrass fans will recognize familiar voices in Antique Persuasion: Brandon Rickman of the Lonesome River Band lends his talents on vocals, guitar, and mandolin; Jenee Fleenor, who can usually be found playing fiddle, mandolin, and guitar and singing background vocals for Blake Shelton & Larry Cordle, brings her talents to bear; and Austin, Texas-based artist Brennen Leigh rounds out the trio.

As commercial radio caught on in the early 1920s, the demand for musical recordings increased. From the time of Thomas Edison’s earliest recording device, recordings were made in a purely mechanical fashion – no microphones, and no amplification. But with the invention of the electric carbon microphone in 1925, the quality of sound was drastically improved. Ralph Peer, the talent scout for Victor, brought this new equipment with him to Bristol in 1927. Using this new technology, he captured the musical sounds of southern Appalachia, and the public snatched up these new “Orthophonic” recordings in record numbers.

With the release of Don’t Forget Me Little Darling, producer Jimmy Metts honors the timelessness of the original Carter recordings by gathering the talented Rickman, Fleenor, and Leigh around the mic to sing the old favorites using today’s best technology. The arrangements are similar to the original recordings, and the music rings true. Each member of Antique Persuasion sings lead on four songs, and their harmony is exquisite. This ‘best of all worlds’ homage to the First Family of Country Music is a fitting tribute to the Carter legacy. In Don’t Forget Me Little Darling these musical descendants of The Carter Family don’t just remember The Carter Family – they pay their respects.

Dr. Cindy Lovell, Executive Director at The Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, CT