Posted 08 Mar 2016
'Chuck Wagon Gang: America's Gospel Singers – The Legacy Lives On' will premiere on the Arkansas Educational Television Network Tuesday, March 15, at 7 p.m.
Their first audience was made up of fellow farmhands. Their first recording session took place in a rented room at San Antonio's Gunter Hotel in 1936, yet the Carter family's Chuck Wagon Gang – America's beloved country gospel group – have gone on to sell 40 million records over their 8 decade career and haven't stopped touring and recording.
"America's Gospel Singers - The Legacy Lives On," a documentary executively produced by Marty Stuart, chronicles the 80-year history of the Chuck Wagon Gang, sharing their stories through rare family photographs, poignant personal stories, old recordings and live performances.
Dan Rather, Merle Haggard, Charlie Daniels, Connie Smith and other guests make appearances to tell the story of The Chuck Wagon Gang, who served as America's guiding light through the Great Depression, World War II, the Korean and Vietnam Wars and the upheaval of the '60s and '70s.
Growing up in rural Texas during the Depression, Rather recalls listening to the Chuck Wagon Gang on the radio.
"Any glimmer of hope was seized upon, and here come the Chuck Wagon Gang ... It lifted spirits,' he said. 'When the radio went off spirits would go down again, but they were higher than when the program came on."
The Chuck Wagon Gang's most recent release 'Meeting in Heaven' (New Haven Records) finds the band singing the songs of Marty Stuart, who also served as executive producer on the album. These new songs were recorded live around one vocal microphone without the use of headphones or overdubbing.
Today, the Chuck Wagon Gang, led by third generation member of the Carter clan, Shaye Smith, carries out and preserves the grand legacy of the group. This band is an heirloom in more ways than one. The quartet is also part of a larger American inheritance and has been inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and the Smithsonian Institution's classic American recordings.
he Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) is Arkansas's statewide public television network that enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life. AETN delivers local, award-winning productions and classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers. AETN depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. For more information, visit aetn.org, or follow the AETN blog at aetn.org/engage. AETN is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro), and KETZ (El Dorado).