Country singer Carlene Carter will perform as part of Kent’s Spotlight Series at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28, at the Kent-Meridian Performing Arts Center, 10020 SE 256th St.
Carter began her career singing with The Carter Family at 17 years old. She has now been releasing music for almost four decades and is heiress to the legacy of country music’s foremost family.
She is the daughter of June Carter Cash and 1950s country superstar Carl Smith, and the stepdaughter of Johnny Cash. Carlene Carter’s mother June was the daughter of Maybelle Carter of the original Carter Family trio that formed in 1927. Along with Mother Maybelle’s brother-in-law, A. P. Carter, and his wife and her cousin Sara, the Carter Family recorded such seminal country music songs as “Can the Circle Be Unbroken (By and By),” “Wildwood Flower,” and “Keep On The Sunny Side,” and forever influenced the development of bluegrass, folk, pop, gospel and rock music genres as well as country music.
Mother Maybelle Carter and her daughters June, Helen and Anita, later performed as Mother Maybelle & the Carter Sisters, and after Maybelle’s passing, as The Carter Family, of which Carlene was a part. With the 1978 release of her self-titled debut album, Carlene established herself on the edgier end of the country music spectrum. When Maybelle Carter died later that fall, Chet Flippo wrote in Rolling Stone that she “lived to see her granddaughter Carlene merge Nashville with contemporary rock and roll.”
Carlene Carter had her biggest hits in the ‘90s, with “Every Little Thing” and “I Fell in Love” both reaching No. 3. The latter was the title track of an album that also included “Me and The Wildwood Rose,” a song she wrote about being a Carter girl.
“I wanted to write a song about what it was like being a little Carter girl, and how me and my sister Rosey grew up and would travel to shows in the back seat of a car when we weren’t in school, and then get pulled on stage way before we were ready!” Carlene Carter recalls.
Her most recent album release is “Carter Girl,” a collection of Carter Family songs and originals, inspired by her family.
Tickets are $28 for adults, $25 for seniors and $15 for youths. Tickets may be purchased online at kentwa.gov/spotlightseries, by calling 253-856-5051 or in person at the Kent Commons, 525 Fourth Ave. N. Hours for phone and in-person sales are Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Box office is closed on Sunday.