The Carter Family Will the Circle be Unbroken

This hour-long documentary dutifully tells the sad and strange tale of the first family of country music. While compositions like "Keep on the Sunnyside" and "Will the Circle be Unbroken" continue to resonate with audiences almost 80 years after they were first recorded, the heartbreaking dynamic of A.P. Carter, his wife Sara, and his cousin Maybelle is less well known. Even in the face of a hard, impoverished life in rural Appalachia, Carter's single-minded drive to make a career out of music alienated his wife, Sara. Rendered with archival footage, photographs, unfortunate dramatisations and interviews with family members, musicians (Gillian Welch, Marty Stuart, etc.), and historians, their bitter break-up is the crux of this story. It's a fascinating backdrop in the tale of Carter — an ingenious loner who laid the foundation for all of folk, country and bluegrass music. (Paramount)