Picks and Pans Review: Various Artists

UPDATED 09/06/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 09/06/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT

The Unbroken Circle: The Musical Heritage of the Carter Family

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Poignant, bittersweet, unfailingly heartfelt and always imbued with a unique spirit, the music of the Carter family is a profound force at the core of country music. This thoroughly enjoyable tribute to that legacy shows how much modern musicians appreciate the creations of Mother Maybelle, Alvin Pleasant (A.P.) Carter, June Carter Cash and her husband, Johnny Cash. Inevitably the contributions of June ("Hold Fast to the Right") and Johnny ("Engine One-Forty-Three") bear a particular emotional impact, since both died shortly after making the recordings. Weakened by age and illness, they still remained dedicated artists capable of rendering the heart of a song. Their son John Carter Cash produced this CD, which also includes stellar turns by Rosanne Cash, George Jones and Sheryl Crow, who delivers a touching version of the inspirational '40s song "No Depression in Heaven."

•DOWNLOAD THIS: "Rambling Boy"

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