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August 19, 2005

The Library of Congress Presents a Tribute to the Original Carter Family

Concert to Feature Old-Time Country Music from Virginia

The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress presents a special "Homegrown 2005" concert to pay tribute to the original Carter Family and to honor the 2005 National Heritage Fellowship Award winner, country singer and autoharp player Janette Carter. The concert, hosted by Joe Wilson, former director of the National Council for Traditional Arts, will feature prominent country and old-time musicians and will be held at noon on Tuesday, Sept. 20, in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. No tickets are required, but space is limited.

Homegrown concerts are produced by the American Folklife Center in cooperation with the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage and recorded so that they can be added to the center’s permanent collections of folk music.

The original Carter Family was one of the most influential groups in early country music, recording dozens of hit songs between 1927 and 1941. Made up of A.P. Carter, his wife, Sara, and her cousin Maybelle (who married A.P.’s brother Ezra), the group established many of the conventions of the genre, including styles of guitar playing and vocal harmony that remained the standard for years. The Carters also collected and arranged many folk songs from both white and black traditions, bringing folk ballads, lyric songs and blues firmly into the mainstream of popular country music.

The concert will feature performances by Dale Jett (son of Janette Carter), David and Linda Lay and Deborah Jean Sheets.

As a member of the Carter family, Jett has been influenced by many musicians and styles of music, but he remains dedicated to the preservation of traditional music. He began playing guitar as a teenager and now often emcees and performs on weekly shows at the Carter Fold.

Linda Lay grew up in Bristol, Va., performing in a family string band and has been singing in church and on stages since the age of 6. She sang lead and played bass with Appalachian Trail and currently sings with the Stony Point Quartet and Springfield Exit. David Lay grew up in the coalfields of Virginia and the farmlands of northeastern Tennessee and plays guitar and sings the low harmony part with the Springfield Exit.

Deborah Jean Sheets has played guitar and sung vocals with a variety of old-time string bands and vocal groups during the past 25 years and currently performs with her husband, Randy, in and around their home in Watauga County, N.C.

Janette and her brother Joe, two of A.P. and Sara’s children, founded the Carter Family Fold in 1979 to honor the legacy of the original Carter Family and preserve and promote the traditions of old-time and mountain music. Located in Hiltons, Va., the Carter Fold is a living musical history museum and performance venue, where live performances of Appalachian Mountain music are held every Saturday night. For more information on the Carter Family Fold, visit its Web site at www.carterfamilyfold.org.

The American Folklife Center was created by Congress in 1976 and placed at the Library of Congress to "preserve and present American folklife" through programs of research, documentation, archival preservation, reference service, live performance, exhibition, public programs and training. The center includes the Archive of Folk Culture, which was established in the Library in 1928 and is now one of the largest collections of ethnographic material from the United States and around the world. For more information about the American Folklife Center, visit the Web site at www.loc.gov/folklife.

Part of the Kennedy Center’s Performing Arts for Everyone initiative, the Millennium Stage helps fulfill the center’s mission to make performing arts widely accessible. The Millennium Stage introduces the performing arts to the local community and to millions of people who visit the center each year. These free, 6 p.m. performances are offered 365 days a year. For more information, visit the Kennedy Center Web site at http://kennedy-center.org.

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PR 05-178
08/19/05
ISSN 0731-3527

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