Monday, January 23, 2006

COUNTRYOBIT: Janette Carter

The death has been announced of Janette Carter, the last of the children from the Carter Family.

It was when her father, AP Carter, died in 1960 that Janette followed his dying wish and picked up the reigns of the family "business", preserving her family's music and the wider Apalacian folk and country traditions. She explained "it's good for younger people to know this kind of music. There was a time when music told a story; it wasn't just some beat."

Although Janette had recorded with her mother and father in the 1950s - her particular acomplishment was the autoharp - because she dedicated so much time to developing the Carter Family Fold into a performance hall, she seldom found time to build her own recording career as a musician. In 2004, a 31-song collection on Bear Family pulled together some of her sporadic recordings.

Last September, her forty years of preservation work was recognised by the National Endowment for the Arts, which presented her with the Bess Lomax Hawes award.

It was the Carter Family Fold and the live performances there which really motivated her, though - in July 2005, the night before her 85th birthday, she fell and injured herself, but still insisted on returning to the Fold in a wheelchair to sing Will The Circle Be Unbroken.

Following the deaths of Joe Carter in 2005 and June Carter Cash, Janette was the last survivor of the original Carter Family children. Her daughter, Rita Forrester, intends to keep the Fold going.

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