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'Carter Girl Homecoming'

Staff report • Jul 10, 2016 at 2:30 PM

HILTONS — It’s going to be a special night at the Carter Family Fold on Friday.

Carlene Carter, the daughter of June Carter Cash and Carl Smith and the stepdaughter of Johnny Cash, will take the stage at 7:30 p.m., for the special Friday night Carter Girl Homecoming concert.

Admission is $15 for adults; $5 for children 6 to 11; and free for those younger than 6. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets will be sold at the door and seating is first-come, first-serve with no advance ticket sales.

The granddaughter of Maybelle Carter and, with Sara and A.P. Carter as her great-aunt and great-uncle, Carter has quite an impressive musical pedigree.

Releasing music for almost four decades, Carter’s most recent album release, “Carter Girl,” is a Don Was-produced collection of Carter Family songs and originals, inspired by her family.

“I wrote (the Carter Girl album) thinking of the Carter Family’s flowery lyrics and romantic themes,” Carter said.

Carter spent the better part of the last few years on the road with John Mellencamp, on his Plain Spoken tour, both as a support act and joining him on stage nightly to perform duets. Carter also played a role in the touring production of “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County,” the southern gothic musical play written by Stephen King and Mellencamp. Upcoming is the release of “Sad Clowns and Hillbillies,” the 2017 album by John Mellencamp, featuring Carter and her newly penned songs.

Carter started her career singing with The Carter Family at the age of 17. With the 1978 release of her self-titled debut album, she established herself on the edgier end of the country music spectrum, having recorded it in England with Graham Parker’s band, The Rumour.

Carter’s third album, ”Musical Shapes,” still often cited as being ahead of its time for its blend of country and rock, was recorded with her then-husband and producer, Nick Lowe, and his group, Rockpile, in 1980. Making their home in London, Carter spent a year on the West End stage in the musical “Pump Boys and Dinettes,” then filled in for her aunt, Anita, one night when The Carter Family played Wembley with the Johnny Cash show. She ended up touring with them for the next two years, until she felt ready to go out on her own again, encouraged by Dwight Yoakam.

Working with producer Howie Epstein (of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers), Carter became Nashville’s homecoming queen of 1990, when her rockin’ “I Fell In Love” topped the country singles and video charts, and the album was named one of the year’s 10 best by Time, People and Stereo Review. Award nominations followed for the Academy of Country Music’s Top New Female Vocalist and Best Country Vocal Performance, Female at the 1991 Grammy Awards. Her dynamic personality made her a natural as VH1’s first country video hostess with her own daily hour, “The Carlene Carter Show,” and she had another smash hit single and video with “Every Little Thing,” from “Little Love Letters,” in 1993.

During the past several years, Carter has continued to produce more songs, tour and receive further recognition for her work and talents.

Today, Carter and her husband, Joe, live in California. She spends as much time as possible in Nashville near her children and her grandchildren, but she rarely makes it to Virginia. Friday’s visit will be her first in many years.

For more information on Carter, visit www.carlenecarter.net.