Carlene Carter Stronger

Carlene Carter Stronger
"Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is the cliché Carter quotes on the title track here, but she knows of what she speaks. From her early hell raising days (twice divorced by 21), this country rock wild child (the daughter of June Carter and stepdaughter of Johnny Cash) ended up with a heavy-duty drug addiction that nearly killed her a few years back (she was busted for possessing smack while in a stolen car in 2001). Along this highway to hell, she delivered excellent albums like her 1978 self-titled debut and ’90s hits I Fell In Love and Little Love Letters. Stronger, her first disc of original material in 13 years, doesn’t quite match their consistent excellence but is still a very worthy outing. Not surprising, moods of melancholy and reflection dominate, but it’s good to hear her rock out occasionally, as on "I’m So Cool” and "On To You.” Carter’s voice lacks a little of its early bubbly exuberance but remains strong and convincing. Excessive strings taint cuts like "Judgement Day” and "Stronger,” but the musicianship and production standards are high. It’s good to have her back. (Independent)