June In Bloom

Carter Family legacy lives in 'Press On'

This appeared in The Tennessean - April 25, 1999

The following are excerpts from this article:

Last Tuesday, Hollywood-based Small Hairy Dog Records, in conjunction with Risk Records, released Press On, an acoustic collection that loosely chronicles June Carter Cash's musical legacy. The album begins with the Carter Family classic, "Diamonds in the Rough." Played by June on autoharp with guitar accompaniment and vocal harmony from Marty Stuart, the song includes the line which gave rise to the album title: "No more gems be gathered/So let us all press on."

For musical support, June enlisted two former sons-in-law, Rodney Crowell and Marty Stuart, as well as acoustic guitar ace Normal Blake, daughter Rosie Carter, bassist Dave Roe, drummer Rick Lanow and mandolinist Hazel Johnson.

"When June first called me about it, I thought it was the coolest idea I'd ever heard," says Stuart, who once was married to Cash's daughter Cindy. "She wanted me and Rodney Crowell (ex-husband of Rosanne Cash) and Nick Lowe (ex-husband of Carlene Carter) to help me do it, and she wanted to call the album June Carter and Her Ex-Sons-in-Law."

Lowe couldn't make it, but Stuart and Crowell played key roles. "The minute I heard her sing the old Carter song, 'Little Moses' (which is not on the record), I thought, this is totally millennium-based, cosmic Carter Family music," Stuart recalls. "June naturally brings a cosmic edge to everything."

The album ends with the Carter Family favorite, "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" with June singing and Marty Stuart playing guitar. To give new life to such a familiar tune, Stuart proposed a new approach.

"I suggested to June that the song -- really and truly the saddest song ever written -- be treated like an old, Southern blues piece," he recalls. "I said, 'Who better than you to reset the clock for this song?' The two of us sat there in the cabin and did it, and I swear, time stood still when it happened.

"It's about time the world had a new June Carter record anyhow," Stuart says, "She's a trip, man. It's brutally honest. I love."

Written by Jay Orr

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