BMI credits Maybelle Carter as the writer, co-writer, or arranger of 64 songs and tunes, including:

  • “Charlie Brooks”
  • “Chinese Breakdown”
  • “Drunkard’s Hell”
  • “East Virginia Blues”
  • “Fair And Tender Ladies”
  • “False Hearted Lover”
  • “Loafer’s Glory”
  • “Lonesome For You Darling”
  • “Troublesome Waters”

Came to Fame With

  • The Carter Family, 1926-1943

Performed With

  • The Carter Family, 1926-1943
  • Mother Maybelle & the Carter Sisters (daughters Helen, Anita, and June), 1943-1975

By the Way

  • Enjoyed classical music and riding her Indian-model motorcycle.
  • Hired Chet Atkins as a fiddler and electric guitarist, late 1940s.
  • Toured with Elvis Presley in 1955.
  • Johnny Cash’s mother-in-law, (Cash married her daughter June, 1968).
  • Her Gibson L-5 guitar was purchased on behalf of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum for $575,000 in 2004.
  • Portrayed by Sandra Ellis Lafferty in the movie Walk the Line, 2005.
  • The Maybelle Carter Retirement Life Community in Madison, Tennessee was built by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash in her memory.

Led the Way

  • The first prominent female instrumentalist in commercial country music, and a participant in the famous Victor Bristol sessions of July/August, 1927.
  • Recorded hundreds of songs and tunes, scores of them still in today’s bluegrass repertoire.
  • Member of the Grand Ole Opry, 1950-1967.
  • Played autoharp on Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs’ album, Songs of the Famous Carter Family, 1961.
  • Country Music Hall of Fame, 1970.
  • Featured performer on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s historic Will the Circle Be Unbroken three-album set, 1971.
  • Her image appeared on a U.S. postage stamp honoring the Carter Family, 1993.
  • Bluegrass Hall of Fame, 2001 (induction presentation by Bill Clifton).

From the Archives

“She is short, but she casts a long shadow – long and a half-century wide. Her voice is shy and unassuming, but it was boomed over the loudest airwaves of her time and made her a household sound. She is so modest that digging facts out of her is like digging clams on a rocky, clammed-out Maine shore at high tide, because many of these facts would sound like compliments to herself and she is not, and never has been, on an ego trip.”
Billy Edd Wheeler, “Mother Maybelle Carter: Her Career Spans a Half-Century,” Country Music Magazine, December, 1973.
“Because they used autoharp and guitar, most of the old ballads had to be taken out of their modal keys to lend themselves to instrumental band accompaniment.”
Billy Edd Wheeler, “Mother Maybelle Carter: Her Career Spans a Half-Century,” Country Music Magazine, December, 1973.
“[Sara] was always able to take music or leave it, and she never had the ambition or indeed the interest to fully exploit her potential.”
John Atkins in “The Carter Family,” Stars of Country Music, 1975.