The Carter Family
The Carter Family were the earliest innovators of Bluegrass and country music, writing and arranging many popular, pastoral songs that are still standards today. Before their time, the genre was mostly known for its hayseed, hillbilly instrumental songs. The Carter Family took Celtic and Appalachian folk standards under public domain and rearranged them with a new type of guitar picking and harmonic vocal melodies, creating a new repertoire of lovelorn ballads, blues standards and Gospel hymns. The haunting, ashen vocal harmonies of Alvin Pleasant Delaney Carter (or A.P. as he liked to be called), his wife Sara and sister Maybelle began in 1927 when the trio first formed with Sara on the acoustic guitar or autoharp, A.P. on vocals (and sometimes fiddle) and Maybelle on an acoustic Gibson L-5. Her innovative guitar playing alone set the standard for today's vein of country guitar picking. Among the recordings available here are previously out-of-print cuts from a 1941 performance that was broadcast from the Mexican border with a transmitter too powerful to be legally operated in the U.S.