Review: The Winding Stream

Mother Maybelle Carter, A.P. Carter, and The Carter Family in The Winding Stream

The Winding Stream tells the history of American music giants The Carter Family. The story begins with the original Carter family and carries down to today’s practitioners of the art such as Roseanne Cash and Carlene Carter. 

Beth Harrington directed the documentary, which begins in the early 1900s using archive footage and recordings to tell the story. Mixed with the old photos and radio and TV recordings are interviews and scenes from current performers and places.

On the film’s website, you can see several video clips, including this montage of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.”

A.P. Carter collected songs from all over the mountains of Virginia to create a musical dynasty.

A.P. and his wife Sara, along with their children Gladys, Janette, and Joe and Sara’s cousin Maybelle formed The Carter Family in 1927. Later Maybelle – Mother Maybelle – and her daughters continued to perform as The Carter Sisters. Johnny Cash joined the family by marrying June Carter. Performers related to this family are still active today, including Roseanne Cash.

The story of the Carters importance and legacy is fascinating. Many musicians appear in the film, talking about the Carter’s influence and singing Carter-related songs.

You can’t be an American and not know these songs. “Keep on the Sunny Side,” “Will The Circle Be Unbroken,” “Wildwood Flower,” “Single Girl, Married Girl” and so many more. If you play an instrument, there’s an old website with a Carter Family Page that links to lyrics and chords for their songs, including “The Winding Stream.” Both Pandora and Spotify have Carter Family playlists.

Watch the trailer for The Winding Steam

The Winding Stream is available on Netflix, iTunes, and Amazon video, or you can buy the DVD on the film’s website. If you don’t already know the history of this American musical family, take 90 minutes and learn something important.

2 thoughts on “Review: The Winding Stream”

  1. June Carter and Johnny Cash were a part of my youth. I loved to hear them sing together, and was saddened by the tough life they had (mostly Johnny’s doing). I’ll be searching Netflix to find this film and, as you say, I might learn something!

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