Ruston Kelly Celebrates 92 Years of the Carter Family’s ‘Weeping Willow’ [LISTEN]
Ruston Kelly recently paid tribute to country music’s first family, the Carter Family, with his own take on “Weeping Willow.” The self-styled “dirt emo” singer went to the family's historic Virginia home to record a modernized 92nd anniversary tribute to one of the family’s seminal recordings.
A.P., Sara and Maybelle Carter’s original version, titled “Bury Me Under the Weeping Willow,” was recorded during the family’s famed Bristol Sessions on Aug. 1-2, 1927. The recordings from the twin Tennessee and Virginia cities of Bristol are widely considered a "big bang" moment that spread early country and folk music to the masses.
“To say I’ve been influenced by the Carter Family is an understatement,” Kelly says in a press release. “When I first heard their 1927 recordings — considered the ‘Big Bang’ of country, folk and Americana music — I was changed forever; Maybelle Carter remains one of my greatest musical influences."
The singer goes on to say that he jumped at the chance to get to know the historic site where the family lived. "Recently, her grandson and my good friend, John Carter Cash, encouraged me to take some alone time out at his ‘grandparents' place’ in Virginia. He was of course referring to the house the Carters lived in in the ‘40s and that Johnny Cash and June Carter ended up keeping in their family," Kelly explains.
"Tucked deep into Poor Valley, on the side of Clinch Mountain, I spent a week in solitude, playing guitar by the creek, walking barefoot on the same worn paths these heroes of mine had. I went there on a personal Mecca and I left profoundly moved and grateful for the peace and spirit that family instilled there," he adds. "On a stormy night in their living room, I started recording this song. It was recorded by the Carter Family 92 years ago and I’m proud to share my take on such an impactful piece of music history.”
Hopefully, the cover will aid documentarian Ken Burns and others’ coming attempts to introduce the Carter Family’s music to a younger audience.
50 Country Songs Everyone Must Hear Before They Die