Last fall, in celebration of her return to Nashville, Carlene Carter organized a series of performances at the Bluebird Café in which she invited other female songwriters to join her in a series she dubbed Carlene Carter’s Wonderful World of Women Who Write. Now, from her new base in her hometown of Madison, TN, and in the wake of her pervasive presence on the Ken Burns Country Music series, this celebrated “Carter Girl” has put together two more evenings under that same banner. They’re set for two successive Wednesdays, October 30 and November 6. Rolling Stone declared the WWOWWW sessions “yet another reminder of the empowering role of women in country music” and “a musical homecoming shared with family and friends.” This month is doubly propitious for Carlene as it marks the release of The Carter Family - Across Generations from Reviver’s Legacy label. Produced by her brother, John Carter Cash, it is the first time that all five generations of the Carter Family are housed, so to speak, under one musical roof.
This year’s WWOWWW kicks off on October 30 with guests Terri Clark and Erin Enderlin and will also serve as a Breast Cancer Awareness Month* event. The Bluebird will literally “go pink” that night in terms of lighting and Carlene will be signing and selling posters, the proceeds from which will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
Terri Clark who hails from Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, made her way to Nashville in the late 80s and, from her first local performance at Tootsie’s Orchard Lounge, proceeded to become one of the top selling country artists, female or otherwise, of the era. To date she’s sold 5 million albums, has been inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and is currently the only Canadian woman on the Grand Ole Opry. Her top 10 hits include “Better Things To Do,” “If I Were You,” “Poor Poor Pitiful Me,” “Emotional Girl,” “Now That I Found You,” “You’re Easy on the Eyes” and “I Just Wanna Be Mad.” She’s had a hand in writing many of her own hits and hosts an internationally syndicated “Country Gold” radio show heard on 165 stations through Westwood One.
A comparative newcomer to Nashville, Erin Enderlin began writing songs in her native Conway, Arkansas at the age of ten. She moved to Nashville to attend Middle Tennessee State University and by her senior year had co-written a Top 5 single (“Monday Morning Church“) for Alan Jackson. Other artists who have recorded her songs include Lee Ann Womack, Luke Bryant, Randy Travis, Reba McEntire, Bill Anderson and Jeannie Seely. No less a talent than fellow songwriter and “Wonderful World of Women...” participant Terri Clark recorded five Erin Enderlin songs on her recent Raising The Bar album.
The November 6th installment perhaps, mandates an asterisk in light of the fact that two of the performers are decidedly not female. Matraca Berg, of course, is and she’s making a return WWOWW appearance. This CMA Song of the Year Award winner and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee has had her songs recorded by Ray Price, Tanya Tucker, Patty Loveless, Randy Travis, Deana Carter, Trisha Yearwood. Reba McEntire took Matraca’s The Last One To Know” to #1 on Billboard’s country Singles Chart.
Matraca’s husband is Jeff Hanna, who is a founding member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and will be joining the WWOWW session in support, both musical and elsewise. He’s a multi-instrumentalist, arranger, producer and songwriter of note. His music having been recorded by Linda Ronstadt, Suzy Bogguss, Patty Loveless, Emmylou Harris, Johnny Cash, Carlene’s mother June Carter Cash, Steve Martin and, quite naturally Matraca Berg. He is co-writer of “Bless the Broken Road” which earned him a Grammy for Best Country Song as recorded by Rascal Flatts.
Lastly, John Oates, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and half of the legendary duo Hall and Oates that has been part of the American musical landscape since the early 1970s will be featured. Oates has pursued solo projects over the years and maintains a residence in Nashville. He bonded with Carlene at the recent introduction of the new Johnny Cash Martin Guitar and, of course, one thing led to another which landed him on the bill at WWOWWW. His recent Arkansas album release is focused on rural blues and roots country music so, irrespective of such rock classics as “Maneater,” “Rich Girl” and “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)”, he promises to be a good fit with the WWOWWW’s nurturing acoustic ambiance.
Reservations will be available on a pre-paid basis for $25.00 one week ahead of each show date at www.bluebirdcafe.com
*Breast cancer is by far the most common cancer in women worldwide. There are 41,000 deaths and 268,600 new cases diagnosed annually. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is designed to bring Increased awareness of the disease and is a time to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure. The color pink and pink ribbons are a way to express support for this cause. Locally, Susan G. Komen Central Tennessee hosts their annual More Than Pink Walk in October to raise funds for research and local services focused on those with the fewest resources. They work with local organizations such as The Grand Ole Opry and The Bluebird Cafe to turn themselves pink to bring awareness to the disease.