'Land' Speed Record

Bluegrass veteran Ralph Stanley this week brings forth his recorded salute America's first family of music, the venerable Carter Family.

Bluegrass veteran Ralph Stanley this week brings forth his recorded salute America's first family of music, the venerable Carter Family. The project was executive-produced by T Bone Burnett and features backing by the Clinch Mountain Boys. On it, the 79-year-old artist goes deep into the Carter Family songbook for 13 Appalachian classics associated with the group.

"Ralph Stanley: A Distant Land To Roam -- Songs of the Carter Family," out on Burnett's DMZ label through Columbia, was co-produced by Larry Ehrlich and Bob Neuwirth and includes such songs as "Worried Man Blues," "Engine 143" and "Hill Lone and Grey."

Beyond their common investment in the genre, Stanley also shares geographical history with the Carter Family. He launched his radio career with his brother Carter, in Bristol, a town on the Virginia/Tennessee border where the group made its first recordings.

"I met all of the Carters," Stanley says. "And I got to know [family patriarch] A.P. pretty well when Carter and I were doing our early radio work on WCYB in Bristol, Va."