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Carter Family Fold
3 Jul 2012
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Writes Art of the Rural Editor Matthew Fluharty in "The Carter Family Fold and Johnny Cash's Last Performance":

Whenever I have friends that are looking to take a trip somewhere, one of the first places I recommend is The Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia. A few years back, I had the chance to attend one of their Saturday evening concerts and hear Janette Carter sing "I'm Thinking Tonight of my Blue Eyes." It's one of the songs that her father and mother, A.P. and Sara, along with aunt Maybelle, immortalized in an early Carter Family recording. Though Janette was frail, she was helped to the stage so that she could take the autoharp and begin the night's music with that selection from her family's legacy.

As she sang, I looked around. Underneath the generous tin roof, families and young couples sat and listened, children ran across the dance floor in front of the stage. It was an atmosphere and an inter-generational audience that harkened back to a time when traditional music – folk music – was actually sung and enjoyed by "folks," not cloistered behind the turn styles of cafes and concert venues. Ms. Carter and her brother Joe created the Fold in 1979 to honor her family and to give a piece of her family's heritage back to the community. When I walked in, I felt at home: large paintings of the Carters adorned the stage, homemade chili and pie beckoned from a window in the back, and a sign reminded me this was hallowed ground: no smoking, no drinking, no cursing.

The Carter Family Fold site has a lot to offer. First and foremost, you can check out their show schedule and also, if distance is an issue, purchase a ticket to the streaming video archive of dozens of recent shows. The grounds also serve as a preservation site for A.P. Carter's cabin as well as a family museum. Also worth visiting: The Friends of the Carter Family Fold has a wonderful selection of photographs and streaming music of the later generations of Carters to follow A.P., Sara and Maybelle. 

Community Culture History Innovation Rural/Regional Appalachia Performance Preservation Song/Dance Southeast Virginia
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