There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
When I first heard of the Carter Family, sometime in the ’70s, I thought we were talking about the sitting president’s clan. (Miz Lillian and Billy sing?) These days, a revived interest in American folk culture has returned the musical Carters to the popularity they enjoyed on Depression-era radio. A.P. Carter, his wife, Sara Carter, and her cousin Maybelle Carter (who got her surname by marrying A.P.’s brother) hailed from that dense thicket where southwestern Virginia meets eastern Tennessee. Before country donned Frye boots—and later Versace—this trio shaped the sound of country music with originals and arrangements of traditional songs. “Mother Maybelle” kept the family business alive with her daughters, the Carter Sisters—one of whom, June, married the Man in Black. A.P. and Sara’s daughter Janette Carter maintains the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Va. The American Folklife Center salutes Janette’s National Heritage Fellowship Award with a Carter Family Tribute Concert, a roots-raiser featuring Janette’s son Dale Jett, David and Linda Lay, and Debbie Sheets. The program starts at noon in the Library of Congress’ Coolidge Auditorium, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free. (202) 707-1732. (Pamela Murray Winters)