Country music fans are probably familiar with the names of June Carter and Johnny Cash, two of the most influential and iconic figures in the genre. But did you know that they also have a daughter who is a successful singer-songwriter in her own right? Her name is Carlene Carter, and she is the product of June’s first marriage to another country star, Carl Smith. In this article, we will explore the relationship between Carlene Carter and June Carter, as well as their musical legacy and achievements.
Who is Carlene Carter?
Carlene Carter was born on September 26, 1955, in Gallatin, Tennessee. She is the daughter of June Carter and Carl Smith, who divorced when she was just two years old. She grew up surrounded by music, as her mother was part of the legendary Carter Family, a pioneering group in country and folk music. She also had a close bond with her stepfather, Johnny Cash, who married June in 1968.
Carlene started her solo career in the late 1970s, blending country with rock and pop influences. She had several hits in the 1980s and 1990s, such as “I Fell in Love”, “Every Little Thing”, and “Come On Back”. She also collaborated with other artists, such as Nick Lowe (her second husband), Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and Vince Gill. She has recorded 12 albums to date, the most recent being Carter Girl (2014), a tribute to her family’s musical heritage.
Who is June Carter?
June Carter was born on June 23, 1929, in Maces Spring, Virginia. She was the daughter of Maybelle Carter and Ezra Carter, and the cousin of A.P. Carter and Sara Carter, who formed the original Carter Family with Maybelle in 1927. The Carter Family was one of the first groups to record and popularize country music, especially Appalachian folk songs. They had many classics, such as “Wildwood Flower”, “Keep on the Sunny Side”, and “Will the Circle Be Unbroken”.
June joined the family act at the age of 10, playing various instruments and adding comedy to their shows. She later formed a trio with her sisters Anita and Helen, known as The Carter Sisters and Mother Maybelle. They performed on radio and television shows, such as the Grand Ole Opry and The Johnny Cash Show. June also pursued an acting career, appearing in films and TV shows like Gunsmoke and The Apostle.
June met Johnny Cash in 1956, when they were both part of the Opry cast. They fell in love despite being married to other people at the time. They finally tied the knot in 1968, after June helped Johnny overcome his drug addiction. They became one of the most beloved couples in country music history, recording many duets together, such as “Jackson”, “If I Were a Carpenter”, and “Ring of Fire” (which June co-wrote). They won several Grammy Awards and were inducted into various halls of fame. They remained married until their deaths in 2003.
Carlene Carter is the biological daughter of June Carter and Carl Smith. She is also the stepdaughter of Johnny Cash and the stepsister of Rosanne Cash (Johnny’s daughter from his first marriage). She is also related to many other members of the extended Carter-Cash family tree, such as John Carter Cash (June and Johnny’s son), Lorrie Carter Bennett (Anita’s daughter), Rodney Crowell (Rosanne’s ex-husband), Tiffany Anastasia Lowe (Carlene’s daughter), and Jakob Dylan (Bob Dylan’s son and Carlene’s former son-in-law).
Carlene has always been proud of her family’s musical legacy and has honored it in many ways. She has performed with her mother, sisters, aunt, cousins, stepfather, stepsister, and son on various occasions. She has also recorded songs written by or associated with her relatives, such as “Me and the Wildwood Rose” (a tribute to her grandmother Maybelle), “Lonesome Valley” (a traditional song popularized by The Carter Family), “I Love You ‘Cause I Want To” (co-written by Rosanne), and “Black Jack David” (a folk song covered by Johnny).
Carlene has also expressed her love and admiration for her mother in interviews and social media posts. She once said: “My mom was my hero because she was so funny … she was so smart … she was so talented … she was so beautiful … she was so kind … she was so generous … she was so loving … she was so everything.” [according to Glide Magazine] She also called her mother “the best friend I ever had” [according to Biography].