The Kent Carters
sing and play music in the authentic style of the original Carter Family
of Maces Springs, Virginia

Jane Richards as Sara Carter (lead vocal, guitar, autoharp)
Gill Sands as Maybelle Carter (lead guitar, Hawaiian-style guitar, harmony vocals)
Rick Townend as 'A.P.' Carter (vocals, and occasional guitar or fiddle

The Carter Family (see were one of the most important groups - musical phenomena even - in the history of Country (including old-time and bluegrass) and Folk Music in America and the world. From the mid 1920s, their homespun but exciting music captured the hearts and related to the lives of ordinary Americans everywhere. The songs they sang, and set on record for posterity, have formed an important part of the material performed by artistes in these traditions since then, right up until today; many artistes, including Bill Clifton, have paid tribute to the Carters.

The Kent Carters' Live Show draws on the huge variety of material recorded by the original Carter Family: songs of work, politics, humour and hard times, religion and railroads, adventure and longing to be home, natural disasters, and - of course - love, broken hearts and yodelling. Many of the songs, like Worried man Blues, are still familiar today. We include a few numbers from our 'Bill Clifton tribute' album, and from the Samuel Wehman collection and our new 'Songs from the Old Country' project. Between the songs, we'll throw a little light on the lives of the Carters, and how it was to be a working band back in the era of the Great Depression. If there's time, we like to put in a couple of songs by other artistes from the time of the Carters: a traditional American old-time fiddle-banjo-guitar trio, or Jane singing I'm a Dreamer, solo with autoharp (like Janet Gaynor in Keep the Sunny Side Up - the second ever 'talkie'). Again if there's time, we'll include a song or tune from each of us in our 'real' personae: Jane sings jazz and acoustic country music, Gill plays banjo, guitar, mandolin and banjolele and sings with the High Weald Ridge band, and Rick plays most of the bluegrass and old-time instruments.

For folk, bluegrass and old-time music festivals we can do a 1 or 1 1/2 hour workshop about the music and lives of the Carter Family

We also have a new show - The Story of Appalachian Music - which we featured at the Sevenoaks Summer Festival in June 2012. This covers (as far as we can in an evening) the fascinating history of our music, from its origins in ballads and tunes from the British Isles, blues and Native-American influences, through Victorian parlour songs and minstrel shows, the beginnings of recorded music in the 20s, and adaptations by classical composers such as Aaron Copland, the old-time heyday in the 30s on radio stations in the southern USA, and then the beginnings of bluegrass, the revival of 'old-time' by the New Lost City Ramblers and others, and an ever widening interest in the music, culminating in the wide array of bands and musicians who perform today, and new songs composed in the old style by artistes like Gillian Welch.

The Kent Carters can be seen on youtube - playing in 2011 at St Julians Club in Sevenoaks, Kent. We included in our performance that night two of the songs which we have taken and arranged from the Samuel Wehman collection (see

For details of other live performances see below.

News: The Kent Carters will be recording a new album in 2012 - 'Songs from the Old Country' - a selection of traditional songs from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, plus 'Ellan Vannin' from the Isle of Man, all performed in typical Carter-style, with guitars, autoharp and harmony singing.


British Bluegrass News [review of Didmarton Bluegrass Festival] - "..a magnificent performance .. great set"

Sutton Acoustic Club - ".. an excellent representation of one of the USA's most popular folk/country groups.. A great evening's entertainment.."

Folk Blues and Beyond [reviewing Sweet Sunny South Festival] - ".. an excellent workshop by the Kent Carters, who also did a fine concert spot"


The Kent Carters have a CD album 'A Tribute to Bill Clifton' - the bluegrass and old-time music star who lived in England for several years in the 1960s and 70s, and did so much to fire the enthusiasm of fans and players on the eastern side of the Atlantic Ocean at that time.

Bill is renowned as a collector and singer of fine old songs - his first songbook was a classic, and has been re issued. Over a long singing career he has brought to life songs of every type - heart songs, political songs, songs recalling home and childhood, songs of wars and peace, humour, adventure - you name it. Among Bill's many albums is one in tribute to the original Carter Family, and we think it is very appropriate to pay a tribute to Bill himself, with an album of songs that he has recorded, which are not songs from the Carters - but performed in Carter style, with guitars, autoharp and harmony singing. Also on the album is a song "Bill Clifton is playing the Greyhound tonight" by Sussex song-writer Chris Liddiard (written after a memorable evening at a pub in Wadhurst with Bill and Jimmy Gaudreau).

Bill sent a message to his fans, included in the CD folder: "As a song-carrier, the real reward comes when one hears their songs coming back to them, sung by a fresh group of musicians, like the Kent Carters"

For CD sales, gigs and information, contact Rick Townend - [please leave out the space when using this email address] or 07570 994681