Songs I love: The Carter Family’s “No Depression in Heaven” and “Keep On the Sunny Side”

As a life-long city boy, I’ve often received snickers when I’ve told people how much I love country music. It’s not sophisticated, they say. It’s not deep, they say. Well, anyone who believes this doesn’t really know country music. Like any genre, country music has its share of crap. But it has so many more timeless gems. Many of those gems come from the Carter Family, who are often considered the First Family of County Music, Here is Sheryl Crow, Levon Helm and friends with a Carter Family classic, “No Depression in Heaven.”

Given that this song was written in the 1930s, I’m pretty sure that the depression referred to here was the economic kind, and not the lack-of-serotonin-in-your-brain kind. But who knows? Even in their songs of hope, they almost always acknowledged the darkness. As someone who has clinical depression, the songs of the Carter Family remind me that depression is never permanent; that even for me, there’s a sunny side of life.

So, thank you Carter Family. Your songs are nearly 100 years old, but they still have deep meaning for those willing to look for it.


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