Carlene Carter has just released her latest album, 'Carter Girl.' The daughter of June Carter and her first husband, singer Carl Smith, says she worked hard to include snapshots of her musical family in the collection of tunes.

“Now that it’s been 11 years since my mother passed away, I felt it was time to do my tribute to the music," she tells

The songstress, who was 12 years old when her mother wed Johnny Cash, says the Man in Black was influential in her own life long before he was her step-father.

“I remember [June Carter] playing ‘Ring of Fire’ to me, I was only four or five years old. She said, ‘This is going to be a big song,'" Carter recalls.

The 58-year-old admits it was a personal struggle to put so many emotions into her latest project.

“It’s hard to write about your mother passing,” she notes. “And it’s hard to write about how it was after she passed … and then how John [Cash] passed. It’s a lot to cover. People try to do biopics of that kind of lifespan, and it’s impossible. Try putting it in a four or five minute song.”

Still, the eclectic singer-songwriter feels it's important to leave her family's imprint on each of her records.

“In all the musical paths I’ve followed, I’ve always tried to include something of the Carter Family,” she maintains. “Whether it was a song collected by A.P., or one that my mother or grandmother wrote. It was always instilled in me from a very young age, that I would carry on the music of the Carter Family and keep it alive.”

Carter, who included collaborations with Vince Gill, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and Elizabeth Cook on the record, says she always feels her mother's influence in her music.

“From the day I first touched a guitar or piano, my mom said, ‘You have to carry on the legacy of the Carter Family music,’” Carter notes. “‘It’s supposed to be passed on and passed around.’”

Download 'Carter Girl' here.

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