Last night at The Franklin Theatre! Great night of music with Nick:-) Always great to see and spend an evening listening to some of my favorite music ever! My how we’ve all grown up!


Join a boat full of beautiful Outlaw people and set sail on the fifth annual Outlaw Country Cruise! Enjoy another year of musical heaven on the high seas and get onboard the Norwegian Pearl from January 29 through February 3, 2020 as it sails from Miami to Key West, Florida and Falmouth, Jamaica!  Carlene returns with many of her friends including The Mavericks, Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, Elizabeth Cook, Bottle Rockets, Jim Lauderdale, NRBQ, Rosie Flores, and many more!  Click the pic below for all the details:


Our friend Dan Pounds made another fun video, this one for a song Carlene co-wrote and recorded with John Jorgenson, which first appeared on the 1992 compilation The Christmas Album - A Gift of Life, and has since been included on A Very Vancouver Christmas 5 in 2010.  Thanks, Dan!


After more than ten years living in California, Carlene Carter has returned to live in Nashville, the place where her familial and musical roots run deepest.  "Tennessee was calling me," she relates.


The daughter of country music greats and Nashville legends June Carter and Carl Smith and the stepdaughter of Johnny Cash, Carlene aims to pick up where she left off and become a vital member of the Nashville creative community.  That intent is underscored by a performance series at Nashville's legendary Bluebird Café that she's curating titled "Carlene Carter's Wonderful World of Women Who Write."  As the title indicates, she'll be joined on three Tuesdays in October by kindred female songwriters of note. 


The WWOWWW schedule is as follows:

Oct. 2 – with Lilly Hiatt and Elizabeth Cook

Oct. 16 – with Lauren Morrow and Pam Tillis

Oct. 30 – with Gretchen Peters and Matraca Berg


From her newly occupied residence in East Nashville, Carlene confides, "I was thinking about how we try to balance being women and all that entails as far as being partners in life and pursuing our creativity. It's a balancing act that only other women can fully appreciate."  As far as the upcoming series at the Bluebird is concerned, she says, "I really wanted to say, 'Hey, I'm back home and ready to embrace the sisterhood of songwriting.' I had really missed the collaborative aspect that Nashville offers -- it's a secret sisterhood with us girls rooting for each other."


After she started unpacking boxes and getting settled, she conceptualized the series and reached out to fellow women songwriters.  "Nobody said 'no' for any other reason than scheduling conflicts," she revealed.  The final line-up is a mix of long-standing friends and newer emerging talents.  "Pam and I came up together so we had that common bond of parents in the business and I've known Matraca for a long time, too. Elizabeth Cook and I became instant friends from the moment we met. I had known her music and her Welder album was the inspiration for me to recruit Don Was to produce my own Carter Girl album. Wouldn't you know it? She ended up singing on half of the album's tracks. I'm so thankful that Gretchen fitted in the date in the midst of her massive tour. She's so sweet."


Of her other "co-conspirators," she commented "I've known Lilly Hiatt's dad (John Hiatt) forever and I'd become aware of her for some time now. I really like what she's doing and we made an effort to include younger women in the series and she's certainly that. Lauren Morrow who has a new recording coming out right now told Pam and me that we were both influential so that's very flattering and she's terrific."


Carlene who grew up in Madison is delighted to be back home.  "I run into people I know on the street and feel more engaged in life now that I'm back. I'm in my 60s and don't want to miss anything! I find living in the mecca of live music to be really inspirational."  Another inducement for her return is the fact that 7 of her 8 grandchildren live in Nashville. 


As far as the title for the series, apart from her admiration for the other artists who are joining her, she claims, "I'm a frickin' Wonder Woman because I'm still alive!"  And she's loving life in Nashville.


Reservations will be available on a pre-paid basis for $25.00 one week ahead of each show date at


Thank you to our good friend and original Fan Club member Patrick Hnidka, who sent us this picture. He said the category was "Hi, Mom" (in honor of Mother's Day on Sunday), and that in answering this question, "One of the women said 'Rosanne Cash' and then the guy answered 'June Carter Cash'!"


Carlene's 5th album, C'est C Bon, originally released by Epic Records in 1983, has just been reissued on CD by the UK label Floating World Records. Lyndon Bolton in No Depression magazine wrote: "C'est C Bon has value for three reasons, all united by the perspective time brings; It shows just how far Carter has come to reach her deserved position among country’s great artists, it demonstrates her versatility, particularly vocally, and it is a fascinating glimpse into the way she immersed herself in the early 1980’s UK music scene."



Happy Birthday to my amazing Father who was the hero of my youth! I miss his laugh, his smile, his eyes, his voice, his wisdom and his love! On the long cattle drive in heaven! I love you Daddy! This favorite picture of mine was taken 40 years ago this week when I released my “Carlene Carter” album! In Nashville at my launch party:-) Played the Exit/In with the Rumour! He was front row with my step momma Goldie and we were LOUD!



40 years ago today, Carlene's self-titled debut album was released on Warner Bros. Records (and tapes!)  Pictured here are the promotional poster sent to record stores, the album, 12 inch single, several 7 inch singles released in the US and Europe, press photo, and record company magazine declaring Carlene "The Face to Watch in '78."


Carlene is seen here at Cash Cabin studio recording "June's Sundown" for a new album of 16 songs by many great artists, created from previously unknown poetry, lyrics, and letters of "Big John." Available everywhere on April 6, you can pre-order here now: Johnny Cash: Forever Words. Back in April of last year, Carlene posted this picture below and wrote: "With my brother John Carter Cash working on the Forever Words upcoming CD. Got to write music for a poem my step daddy John Cash wrote many years ago. Was such an amazing spiritual visit of him right with me at the piano:-) Thanks to all the musicians here who made it spectacularly FUN!!"


Thank you very much to our friend Dan Pounds for making this fun video with Carlene and family including husband Joe, daughter Tiffany, son Jackson, and granddaughter Luna! Carlene wrote the song with "Big Al" Anderson, and it came out on the Giant Country Christmas CD back in 1994!


It was November in Nashville; the sky was grey the streets were wet, and I was in a hurry to get where I was going! And like always, I had the radio on, not quite at my usual blasting volume, but I could hear it in case something whispered... Turn me up!

Back in September I had turned 21, already with two husbands under my belt, two amazing kids to inspire the fire in me to get on with “it.” It was, that night, I was driving into “town” to “Writer’s Night” at the Exit In. All week I had prayed for a chance to play a new song I had written, so I was excited and running on the promise of that chance. As I pulled into the parking lot off Elliston Place, I heard a sound from my stereo that struck me like lightning! I knew I was running late, but I had a feeling I needed to listen on...

Click to read the full article on Innocent Words

I have been so deeply sad for the passing of my friend Tom Petty.
There have been a lot of comments sent to me and I’ll get to them and will respond soon.
I am still reeling from the reality that I’ll never see him face to face on this earth again:-)
God bless his family and his brothers The Heartbreakers.
Everywhere I go people say, ”You knew Tom?”
I say that I was honored to have known him since we first met in 1978.
It was Denny Cordell who put us in a room with a couple of guitars and said, "You two kids behave yourselves and have fun!"
I just wish I could’ve spent time with him since Howie passed away, I had not seen or spoken to him... but I always loved him.
I saw this article and thought it a beautiful tribute to just one of his masterpieces:-)

Carlene sings on this track from the debut album (Racing Time) of the trio DWNTWN, whose lead singer/writer, Jamie Leffler, is the daughter of Carlene's long-time partner, the late Howie Epstein. From their bio: DWNTWN’s expansive artistic palette recalls the transcendently textured indie rock of Modest Mouse and Beach House, and the heartfelt sincerity of classic 1970s Laurel Canyon folk and early country, a la The Carter Family... Racing Time concludes with a stunning rendition of Anita Carter’s 1960s chestnut “As The Sparrow Goes,” featuring a guest appearance by Jamie’s stepmother, Carlene Carter. Here, Carlene’s richly expressive vocals beautifully complement Jamie’s dreamy singing. On the heels of the release of DWNTWN's masterful debut, Jamie is reflective. A moment that stands out to her in making the album is sharing her music with her stepmother. Jamie says: “It felt really good to reconnect. She told me: ‘I want you to know your dad would have been so proud of you.’”


Carlene is guest blogger on the Birthplace of Country Music website today with an article she wrote about her mother on her birthday.  Click the picture to go to their site and read:

I met an amazing man here in Oregon and he gave me a gift of something he made up on the Kilcher homestead! It’s a bracelet that I can use in an emergency to start a fire or just wear as a fashion piece of jewelry! He is the star of Alaska: The Last Frontier and father of the beautiful and talented Jewel! What a wonderful time we all have had with her and her Daddy these past two days, in Portland last night and Bend, Oregon tonight! Hope to do it again sometime soon! Thank you Jewel! Much love and blessings to you. Love and light shines out of you girl!
Love Carlene

Carlene's new album with John Mellencamp won't be out until Friday, April 28, but in the meantime you can hear it in its entirety on NPR's First Listen!


Just announced this week is the John Mellencamp Sad Clowns & Hillbillies 2017 Summer Tour, with 22 U.S. dates in June and July, then 5 more Fair shows in August and September!  This comes not long after the highly successful 2-year Plain Spoken tour with Carlene as Special Guest on all shows.  The new tour will follow the April release of the new John Mellencamp CD featuring Carlene Carter (on Republic Records) which Katie Couric recently asked him about:


KATIE COURIC: "You just wrapped up a tour with Carlene Carter - cool - the daughter of June Carter and Carl Smith, stepdaughter of Johnny Cash. Now you have a new album that's coming out later this spring, called Sad Clowns and Hillbillies. You excited about that?"


JOHN MELLENCAMP: "Yeah, Carlene and I, we met, Stephen King and I were doing a musical (Ghost Brothers of Darkland County), and Carlene had a small part in it. It was traveling around the United States, and Carlene and I got to be friends, from me showing up periodically to watch the musical. Then I was doing something for Meg Ryan - she made a little movie (Ithaca) and she directed it, and I did the music for it, and I needed somebody to sing with kind of a twang ("Sugar Hill Mountain"). So I thought Carlene would be perfect for that. So I called Carlene and then Carlene started going on the road with me. Carlene and I became singing buddies, so we decided to make this record together. It’s crazy the way it started. It was going to be a religious record. It started out as like, ‘Look, let’s go back and do an old country religious record. We’ll try to write songs that sound like those songs, but they’ll be new.’ And then it just kept evolving and evolving and evolving. The songs she was bringing and the songs I was bringing, they weren’t so religious [laughs]. I write a lot of sad songs. So Sad Clowns and Hillbillies - that’s where it came from."


And from Carlene's interview with the Columbia Daily Tribune last fall: "He (John Mellencamp) is part of the soundtrack to my life, like he is to a lot of people," she said, sharing her memories of dancing to his hits and singing them loudly while driving in her convertible decades ago. The pair have traveled extensively together since. Carter opens the show for Mellencamp and, at some point in the set, they do a few songs together. They have become quite natural singing partners. "I don’t have a hard time figuring out where he’s going to go; it’s like I already know where he’s going," Carter said. Carter and Mellencamp have more in common than musical sensibility. Both have lived and made work with a similar sense of purpose and stubbornness. "We both have been uncompromised artists. I think we have that in common, almost like little rebels," she said.


Fans at the last leg of the Plain Spoken tour got to hear the duo sing two of their collaborations from the forthcoming album: the beautiful ballad "Indigo Sunset"; and the up-tempo gospel "My Soul’s Got Wings" with Mr. Mellencamp's music for lyrics by one of his heroes, Woody Guthrie.  (In the unbroken musical circle, Mr. Guthrie adapted the melody to his most famous song, "This Land is Your Land," from a song recorded by The Carter Family.)


The Sad Clowns & Hillbillies tour starts June 5 in Colorado, and along with Mr. Mellencamp and Carlene will include Very Special Guest Emmylou Harris and Indianapolis folk-pop sister duo Lily & Madeleine.  Emmylou of course is a long-time friend of Carlene, and was the first to record "Easy From Now On" which Carlene wrote with the late Susanna Clark back in 1977.  Substituting for Emmylou at the 2 Oregon dates (June 10 and 11) will be singer-songwriter Jewel (who played Carlene's mother June Carter Cash in the 2013 Lifetime Television movie "Ring of Fire").  The 5 Fair dates in August and September will include just Mr. Mellencamp and Carlene.  All of the info as always is on Carlene's Calendar.


Tickets for the tour will be available to the general public beginning Friday, February 24 at 10 am. and VIP pre-sale tickets will be available beginning Wednesday, February 22 at 10 am until Thursday, February 23 at 10 pm.  Every online ticket comes with 1 physical CD of the Sad Clowns & Hillbillies album.



June 05 - Greenwood Village, CO - Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre

June 07 - Boise, ID - Outlaw Field at the Idaho Botanical Garden **

June 08 - Redmond, WA - Marymoor Park

June 10 - Troutdale, OR - McMenamins Edgefield #

June 11 - Bend, OR - Les Schwab Amphitheater #

June 13 - Saratoga, CA - The Mountain Winery **

June 14 - Saratoga, CA - The Mountain Winery **

June 17 - Murphys, CA - Ironstone Amphitheatre

June 18 - Los Angeles, CA - Greek Theatre

June 21 - Grand Prairie, TX - Verizon Theatre

June 22 - Sugar Land, TX - Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land

June 24 - Saint Augustine, FL - Saint Augustine Amphitheatre

June 25 - Boca Raton, FL - Mizner Park Amphitheatre

June 27 - Atlanta, GA - Chastain Park Amphitheatre **

June 28 - Cary, NC - Cary’s Koka Booth Amphitheatre

June 30 - Gilford, NH - Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion

July 01 - Lenox, MA - Tanglewood

July 03 - Vienna, VA - Wolf Trap ***

July 06 - Philadelphia, PA - The Mann Music Center

July 07 - Bethel, NY - Bethel Woods Center for the Arts **

July 08 - Canandaigua, NY - CMAC

July 11 - New York, NY - Forest Hills Stadium

August 04 - West Allis, WI - Wisconsin State Fair *

August 05 - Davenport, IA - Mississippi Valley Fair *

August 29 - St Paul, MN - Minnesota State Fair *

August 31 - Allentown, PA - The Great Allentown Fair *

September 01 - Essex Junction, VT - Champlain Valley Fair *


# Jewel is Special Guest for this show, Emmylou Harris will not be performing

* Emmylou Harris and Lily and Madeleine will not be appearing

** Public & Pre-Sale Ticket on sale date TBA

*** July 03 - Vienna, VA - Wolf Trap on sale March 18 at 10 am

RSS feed

Connect with Carlene!

Facebook -- Twitter -- Instagram -- Pinterest -- Tumblr -- YouTube --

More info on Calendar!

  • 05/29/2019
    Country Music Hall of Fame - Nashville, TN
  • 05/31/2019
    Ozark Folk Center State Park - Mountain View, AR
  • 06/07/2019
    WSM Headquarters - Nashville, TN
  • 06/07/2019
    Nashville Palace - Nashville, TN
  • 08/13/2019
    American Legion Post 82 - Nashville, TN

C'est C Bon on CD in UK!

Sad Clowns & Hillbillies with John Mellencamp!

Carter Girl CD on Sale!

Get C.C. News Updates!