Last year, Nashville singer-songwriter Ruston Kelly released his heart-wrenching debut album, Dying Star. The alt-country artist visited our offices in New York just a few months ago to perform a stripped-down set. He’s kept pretty quiet this year, aside from a cover of Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well.” Today, he returns with a cover of the Carter Family’s “Weeping Willow.”
The song was recorded at the Carter’s own family home in Virginia and is released in honor of the original track’s 92nd anniversary. It was originally released in 1927 under the title “Bury Me Under The Weeping Willow.”
Kelly explains the inspiration behind this cover in a statement:
To say I’ve been influenced by the Carter Family is an understatement. When I first heard their 1927 recordings—considered the ‘Big Bang’ of country, folk and Americana music—I was changed forever; Maybelle Carter remains one of my greatest musical influences. Recently, her grandson and my good friend, John Carter Cash, encouraged me to take some alone time out at his ‘grandparent’s place’ in Virginia. He was of course referring to the house the Carters lived in in the ‘40s and that Johnny Cash and June Carter ended up keeping in their family. Tucked deep into Poor Valley, on the side of Clinch Mountain, I spent a week in solitude, playing guitar by the creek, walking barefoot on the same worn paths these heroes of mine had. I went there on a personal Mecca and I left profoundly moved and grateful for the peace and spirit that family instilled there. On a stormy night in their living room, I started recording this song. It was recorded by the Carter Family 92 years ago and I’m proud to share my take on such an impactful piece of music history.
Listen to Ruston Kelly’s “Weeping Willow,” along with the original, below.