This past Friday evening was a bitterly cold night after what had been a difficult day. Not the easiest kind of day to get enthusiastic or positive about things.
But here's the thing: Often all it takes is one small thing to turn things around and make you feel warm inside and good again.
And this past Friday, that one small thing was The Carter Family Project. Haven't heard them yet? Didn't get to see them on Friday? Well, let me tell you, you are missing out!
The Carter Family Project was started by Fran Leadon and Leigh Anderson, a Brooklyn, New York, couple with small children. It is an ambitious -- and kind of outstandingly bonkers -- project to record every single song cut by the Carter Family, from beginning to end in chronological order, starting with the songs they recorded at the 1927 Bristol Sessions. And then they put each and every one of those recordings on their tumblr blog, sharing them with the world.
They have been recording these songs since 2011, and they have been doing it in a very Carter Family way: at home, surrounded by family and friends, babies bawling in the background, birds and garbage trucks making their own audio appearances through open windows.
And it's awesome. There are occasional flubs, and there is laughter, but best of all, there is talent and a real and true love of music and the Carter Family song catalog. And it shines through.
On Friday, after a long and arduous drive down from NY with a toddler and baby in tow, and with friends bearing banjos and guitars and fiddles, and with a borrowed upright bass, the Carter Family Project performed at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum.
Everything about this performance was great -- it was personal and intimate, it was fun and expressive. We learned that every song is Fran's favorite Carter song. We saw and heard some amazing Carter scratch guitar playing. We heard old favorites and back catalog forgotten tunes. We sang along, and we ended with a standing ovation. And best of all, we got to talk to the musicians and learn about their love of this music and this heritage, and we knew that they had come home.
Music evokes emotion, and Friday night's music just made me happy. It kept me on the sunny side, and for that I heartily thank the Carter Family Project.