American roots music has a deep tradition of singing songs from the heart. It tells stories of life’s struggles and what people turn to to get through them. With empathy, this music recognizes the human condition.
Now, the legacies two of roots music’s most noted families, who have long carried on this American tradition, intertwine on a special project from Mountain Home Music Company.
Since 1936, hope, harmony, faith and family have been at the center of the Chuck Wagon Gang’s music. Today in its third generation, the group has decided to honor The Carter Family’s storied career with their album, There’s No Depression In Heaven The Gospel Songs Of The Carter Family.
“When we started thinking about this project of honoring The Carter Family’s gospel music, we wanted it to be special and we wanted it to be done right,” says Shaye Smith, the group’s alto singer and a direct descendant of the original members.
Smith says they carefully selected songs from The Carter Family’s catalog that would fit with the Chuck Wagon Gang’s well-known style of four-part harmony vocals and their signature guitar accompaniment. By doing so, they added yet another dimension of tribute to the Carter Family that’s sure to please connoisseurs of the legendary group’s history, who will easily hear echoes of the second generation Carter Family sound, created by Mother Maybelle with daughters Helen, Anita and June, and at one time even incorporated the guitar of Chet Atkins. The result is an even richer tribute to the Carter Family’s entire generation-spanning legacy.
“One of the Chuck Wagon Gang’s most beloved songs is ‘Echoes From The Burning Bush.’ That is what this album sounds like to me — an Old Testament echo,” says Marty Stuart, Grammy-award winning American country singer. “The songs and the singing are crystal clear. Beautiful words wrapped in sounds that touch my heart, give me hope, fill my soul with peace, and paint pictures in my mind of God’s eternal Heaven.”
With elegant simplicity, the Chuck Wagon Gang honors Maybelle, A.P. and Sara Carter on songs like “The Honey In The Rock,” “The Old Gospel Ship,” and “On The Rock Where Moses Stood.”
“The Meeting In The Air,” the album’s first gospel single, describes the glorious day we’ll be called to heaven, where doubters and skeptics will be missing.
The title track, “There’s No Depression In Heaven,” encompasses the theme of recognizing the human condition and life’s struggles and how faith and God’s word can carry people through the darkest days with the promise of Heaven.
I am going where there’s no depression
To a lovely land that’s free from care
I will leave this world of toil and trouble
For my home in Heav’n, I’m going there
In “Somebody’s Boy,” the Chuck Wagon Gang sings of a mother’s pain at the thought of her son wandering in the world. As she ages, she longs for her son’s return and makes it clear she’ll welcome him as he is.
Other songs include, “When Our Lord Shall Come Again,” “Am I A Soldier Of The Cross,” The Heart That Was Broken For Me,” “Anchored In Love Divine,” and “There’s A Hill Lone And Grey.”
The album closes with “The Bible In The Cabin,” a song about how a family Bible becomes precious over the many years it is used.
Tis the old precious Bible, blessed Bible
That she read in the cabin by the sea
Tis the old-fashioned Bible, the old precious Bible
Tis the Bible that my mother gave to me
“It has truly been an honor for us to be part of bringing this remarkable tribute of the First Family of Country Music to fruition,” says Smith. “In true Chuck Wagon Gang style, we believe these songs will minister to your heart as the Gang’s music has done for over 80 years.”