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Sara Carter

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Biography

Sara Carter (July 21, 1898 – January 8, 1979) was an American Country music musician. Known for her deep and distinctive singing voice, she was the lead singer on most of the recordings of The Carter Family act in the 1920s and 1930s.

She was born Sara Elizabeth Dougherty in Copper Creek, Virginia. She married A. P. Carter on June 18, 1915, but they were later divorced in 1939. They had three children: Gladys (Millard), Janette (Jett), and Joe.

In 1927, she and A.P. began performing as The Carter Family, perhaps the first commercial rural Country music group. They were joined by her cousin, Maybelle Carter, who was married to A.P.’s brother, Ezra Carter.

Sara later remarried to Coy Bays, A.P.’s first cousin, and moved to California in 1943, and the group disbanded.

In the 1960s, Sara reunited with Maybelle Carter, and briefly toured during the folk music revival of the time.

Sara was inducted as part of The Carter Family in the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1970, along with Bill Monroe.

In 1993, Sara’s image appeared on a U.S. postage stamp honoring The Carter Family. In 2001 she was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor.

Emmylou Harris’ 2008 album All I Intended to Be, includes the song, “How She Could Sing the Wildwood Flower”, co-written with Kate & Anna McGarrigle, about the relationship between Sara and A.P., inspired by a documentary that the three of them saw on television.

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