Carlene Carter, Jodee Lewis | City Winery | Folk & Country | Chicago Reader

Carlene Carter, Jodee Lewis Recommended All Ages Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard Image

When: Sat., Aug. 9, 8 p.m. 2014

It can’t be easy to grow up in one of America’s most storied musical families. Carlene Carter is the daughter of June Carter and her first husband, overlooked honky-tonk great Carl Smith (June later married Johnny Cash); she’s also the granddaughter of Mother Maybelle Carter, who sang and played guitar in the original lineup of the Carter Family. Carlene launched her musical career in the late 70s, injecting honky-tonk fundamentals with the energy of punk, but she didn’t directly address her lineage till this year. Most of the songs on the recent Carter Girl (Rounder) are classics from the Carter Family repertoire, dating from the late 20s and early 30s, but she also remakes her own “Me and the Wildwood Rose,” looking back to her childhood in the early 60s: “In my grandma’s house, her children would sing / Guitars a twangin’, their laughter would ring / I was little, but I was the biggest kid / I wanted to do what the grown-ups did.” You might expect such nostalgia to permeate the music as well, but Carter doesn’t embrace the rustic sound of her forebears; instead she works with producer Don Was to deliver a contemporary country-rock sound, with Sam Bush’s mandolin doubling as a sort of sonic link to a much earlier era. Her plush, slightly scuffed voice, caressed by the fluid moan of Greg Leisz’s gorgeous pedal steel, brings honeyed beauty to the waltz “I’ll Be All Smiles Tonight,” and on the beautiful Willie Nelson duet “Troublesome Waters” Rami Jaffee’s organ swells add a little gospel urgency. —Peter Margasak

Price: $25, $30 for premier, $35 for VIP

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