Love is the answer.
Acclaimed singer-songwriter Carlene Carter has emerged from a period of intense mourning and introspection to craft Stronger, an album that explores the power of love to hurt, to bring laughter, to change the heart and, most of all, to heal. "Just bring love, thats all youre gonna need," a redeemed Carlene sings in "Bring Love." She falls head over heels in her sparkling songs "Spider Lace," "It Takes One to Know Me" and "Light of Your Love."
And that is, in fact, what has happened to her. Carlene says that marrying actor Joseph Breen in 2006 is what inspired her to create her first album of new material since 1995.
"Almost everything on this record I wrote since Ive been with my husband," says Carlene. "The whole record was inspired, in a lot of ways, by Joe. He really encouraged me to start writing again. Every day hed say, Have you written anything today? At first, Id go, No I havent written anything. Leave me alone.
"It had taken me such a long time to get over everyone passing away in that whole bad year. I just didnt really know if I wanted to mess with music anymore. But I dont know how to NOT write songs. It just took me awhile to process some of the stuff that had happened and to just get inspired again. Joes loving support, coupled with the encouragement of my children, Tiffany and Jackson, and the joy I see in my four grandchildren helped me return to my musical center."
In February 2003, Carlenes long-time partner Howie Epstein died. In May of that same year she lost her mother, June Carter Cash. Stepfather Johnny Cash died that September. Her little sister Rosey passed away in October. The quadruple grieving temporarily derailed her hard-won sobriety, but she met Joe during her recovery.
"I had just gone through so much stuff," she reflects. "That was a hard, hard time. Joe and I met in Los Angeles through mutual friends, and we just sort of hit it off immediately. We hung out in L.A. for seven or eight months before we decided to come back to Tennessee to do the Wildwood Flowers musical."