2020 ALBUM DRAFT- Round 5 Pick 7- Run-Sew-Read selects- Carlene Carter- I Fell In Love

Run-Sew-Read’s blog can be found at – https://run-sew-read.com/

What do you get when you combine Levon Helm, June Carter Cash, and some of Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers, with the bride in Nick Lowe’s ‘Cruel to be Kind’ video?  You get Carlene Carter’s album, “I Fell in Love”.   It’s a fun lot of country with a rock and roll heart, or vice versa.  

By the time she made this album, Carlene was a veteran musician and performer.  She was born and raised in music royalty.  She had been married to Nick Lowe, and they were now divorced.  She had inspired a famous cartoon in Playboy.  Howie Epstein (bassist for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) was her new life partner and soulmate, and he produced this album.  I don’t know that it’s possible to overstate his role in the great sound of this album or as a supporting role in Carlene’s success in the first half of the 1990s.  

I love every song on this album.  There’s fast and loud; and soft and poignant.  While listening and writing this post, I was reminded how she can do emotion (‘The Sweetest Thing’).  She wrote or co-wrote most of the songs.  Some songs are sampled from her family heritage.  For instance, ‘My Dixie Darlin’ is an upbeat tempo song written by AP Carter.  ‘Me and the Wildwood Rose’ is a special song she wrote about her memories when she and her sister rode in the car with their grandma Maybelle Carter, to Carter Family concerts.

June Carter Cash, Levon Helm, Dave Edmunds, Albert Lee, Benmont Tench, Kiki Dee, and several more familiar musicians contributed vocals and/or instruments to the album. Several of them appear in the video of the song ‘I Fell In Love’.  Here’s a list of album credits.   https://www.allmusic.com/album/i-fell-in-love-mw0000315135/credits

I Fell In Love (spot the famous musicians, while I swoon over the cool western outfits):

This album reached #19 in the US Country Billboard chart, and the singles, ‘I Fell in Love’ and ‘Come on Back’ both reached #3 (per Wikipedia).  If you like this album, definitely continue on and listen to her next album, Little Love Letters.  I had a hard time choosing between these two albums for my draft pick.  

The songs:
1. I Fell in Love
2. Come On Back
3. The Sweetest Thing
4. My Dixie Darlin’
5. Goodnight Dallas
6. One Love
7. The Leavin’ Side
8. Guardian Angel
9. Me and the Wildwood Rose
10. You Are the One
11. Easy from Now On”

Some of the songs have been long-time staples of my running music mix, because of their great upbeat tempo.  Yep, they go back to the days of my Walkman mix tapes, and then made the transition to my mp3 players.  All of the songs on the album are lovely to hear on a road trip, or at any time cranked up on the player at home.

One more sample

Carlene most recently toured with John Mellencamp.  I went to see Carlene.  Others went to see Mellencamp, but left as Carlene fans, too.  During John’s set, Carlene joined him for a knock-your-socks-off duet of ‘Tear This Cabin Down’.

Oh yes, the Playboy cartoon.  It’s not directly pertinent to the album, but it is very ‘rock and roll’.  As the legend goes, Carlene was on stage performing with her band in NYC, and made a graphic introduction to their next song.  (I’ll let those who want to know look up the particulars.)  Unbeknownst to Carlene, her mom and stepdad, June Carter and Johnny Cash, had decided to attend her show and were in the audience.  It made for a great cartoon. 

Carlene Carter Johnny Cash cartoon.jpg


  1. I didn’t guess the album but I guessed Carlene Carter. I started to listen to her more when you mentioned her on a Nick Lowe post. She has such a pure and great country voice. Great review and pick.

  2. Well besides her name I knew nothing at all of her, but hey with parents like that and friends like hers, gonna be a good bet she has some talent! And judging from the first one of those videos I’m listening to (“Goodnight Dallas”) i think she does! Nice writeup and leftfield pick.

  3. She looks a lot like her grandma! I think you say here that Johnny Cash is her stepdad? So June had her before Johnny came along? She has inherited her family’s musical talent. Good write-up on a good musical artist/album.

  4. Another great pick by you. I was on board back then and still look in or should I say listen in on her from time to time. Good stuff RSR. Makes me want to revisit for sure. I was just playing another of her albums a while back. You are full of surprises. PS. The JM collaboration is a good one. He knows where to hitch his wagon.

  5. Great pick Diana. Other than the fact she was Carter family royalty (which I learned a lot about watching the Ken Burns series on Country Music last fall), I was not too familiar with Carlene’s music. “I Fell in Love” is a terrific song, as are the other album cuts you shared, so I’ll definitely give the entire album a listen.

  6. I’m a longtime fan of John Mellencamp, and one of my favorite records is “Sad Clowns & Hillbillies,” his collaboration album with Carlene Carter. I also saw the two of them during the supporting tour. Emmylou Harris on the bill as well. It was a great show and definitely worth a 1.5-hour drive from central Jersey to see them at the Mann in Philly!

    I was really impressed with Carlene. But I guess thanks to a short attention span and so much other competing music, I never followed up the concert with further exploring her music. This definitely wants me to hear more of her music.

  7. Pingback: Three upcoming releases I’ll be watching – run | sew | read·

Comments are closed.