The title of this tribute to the Carter Family alludes to their best-known spiritual, "Will the Circle Be Unbroken." While that standard isn't included here, the roster of artists renews the spirit of the circle, a familial legacy that encompasses Mother Maybelle's daughter June Carter Cash, June's husband Johnny Cash, Johnny's daughter Rosanne Cash, and generations of artists inspired by them. Highlights range from the yelp of George Jones on "Worried Man Blues" to the surge of rockabilly energy in John Prine's "Bear Creek Blues" to the banjo-driven, fiddle-tinged bluegrass of the Del McCoury Band's "Rambling Boy." As for the family's performances, Rosanne brings a depth of expression to "The Winding Stream" while a sense of mortality pervades Johnny's "Engine One-Forty-Three" and June's "Hold Fast to the Right." And Willie Nelson's solo reading of "You Are My Flower" gives it room to bloom. Album producer John Carter Cash (son of Johnny and June, grandson of Maybelle) makes every one of these tracks feel like family. --Don McLeese
There are 15 selections here, certainly something for every bluegrass/Carter Family fan. Wouldn't it be a fine day for music if Emmylou Harris did an all A. P. Carter album, along with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt!
"Beautiful Dreamer" with songs by Stephen Foster is much better.