The Winding Stream as a title for a film does not just refer to the Carter Family song of the same name. It’s also a metaphor for the current of music that started with the Original Carter Family and flowed through subsequent generations of family. The second generation is characterized by The Carter Sisters. The third by musical folks like Carlene Carter, John Carter Cash and Lorrie Bennett.
I have to admit that someone from the third generation whom I think is supremely talented, dedicated to the legacy and far too unsung is A.P. and Sara’s grandson, Dale Jett (he’s the son of the late Janette Carter). Dale has a beautiful, soulful voice and a deep appreciation for the music and its history. He was a mainstay at the Carter Family Fold, has played with his relatives on many occasions (check out the Carter Family III CD), and now appears regularly as part of the trio called Hello Stranger (Dale sings, plays guitar and autoharp along with his wonderful wife Teresa on bass and multi-instrumentalist Oscar Harris).
Although he was surrounded by music in his childhood, Dale came to guitar playing relatively late. He thought his left-handedness prevented him from playing. It took a visit from a family friend – the legendary folk artist Elizabeth Cotten – to straighten him out (she being left-handed, too, as it turned out). Not a bad teacher. After that, there was no stopping Dale.
To hear Dale’s approach to the Carter Family repertoire you owe it to yourself to hear Hello Stranger’s album, “Going Down the Valley” which is downloadable via CDBaby (www.cdbaby.com/) or in hard copy form through Dale’s website: www.dalejett.com. It’s the real deal. This music is in his blood and he interprets it with a subtle passion, a sincerity and depth of feeling that I know Carter Family fans will appreciate. Also, while you’re on their site, check out their fall schedule of concerts. Maybe you can catch a show near you?
Finally, keep an ear out for a new CD that Hello Stranger is working on. It will be called “When the Sun Comes Out Again” and is a collection of Civil War era music. The trio has recently completed five songs for the CD at the studio of friends and music greats Dixie and Tom T. Hall. And there’s more in the offing.
But I’ll let you all know when it’s released.