Several of the most notable artists in country music united for a particular purpose. That is to make an incredible recording of the timeless tune, “Will the Circle be Unbroken.” While the song primarily centered on death, it has become a standard song in gospel revivals. It was also among the commonly performed songs in different concert shows and programs including the Grand Ole Opry. Aside from Johnny Cash and The Carter Family, there are numerous country icons who delivered the popular hymn in their signature vocals. Among them were Alison Krauss and Willie Nelson on their touring partnership back in 2014. The list also includes Loretta Lynn, Joan Baez, George Jones, and Kenny Rogers. Still, the list of performers is impartial and you can add on it.
In 1972, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band recorded an album with the same title as the song. Will the Circle Be Unbroken was the band’s seventh album. In this release is a collaborative recording of the classic tune featuring various traditional country artists. This production was the product of the band’s attempt to tie two generations of musicians. Find out below the other musicians who performed in the recording.
One Song in Various Vocals
English Christian hymnist Ada Ruth Habershon wrote the original text of “Will the Circle be Unbroken.” It was later re-arranged by A. P. Carter, the founding member of The Carter Family. This version entitled “Can the Circle be Unbroken,” with the same music and verse structure, has evolved considerably. Also, it was oftentimes recorded with its original title. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s collaborative recording also used that version. So, who were those country artists invited to perform in their 1972 album? Foremost on our list was Mother Maybelle Carter. Joining her were other traditionalists such as Earl Scruggs, Roy Acuff, Doc Watson, Merle Travis, and Jimmy Martin, among others. You can check out the names of other musicians who performed in this recording from the clip.
Watch and listen to their amazing performance of the classic song below.
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band released two follow-up albums, Will the Circle be Unbroken: Volume II and Will the Circle be Unbroken, Volume III with the same concept. In 1989, Volume II won the Country Music Association‘s Album of the Year award. Additionally, the album took home two Grammy Awards in 1990. These were the Best Bluegrass Recording and Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
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Emmylou Harris, Johnny Cash, nitty gritty dirt band, Ricky Skaggs, the carter family, Will the Circle Be Unbroken