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"Can the Circle Be Unbroken (By and By)" is the title of a country/folk song reworked by A. P. Carter from the hymn "Will the Circle Be Unbroken?" by Ada R. Habershon and Charles H. Gabriel.[1] The song's lyrics concern the death, funeral, and mourning of the narrator's mother.

In 1988, springing from the Great Hudson River "Clearwater" Revivals [2] (now referred to as Festivals) which Pete Seeger championed from the mid-1960s through the present, the second line of the Chorus was rewritten and copyrighted by Cathy Winter, Betsy Rose, Marcia Taylor and Terry Dash (see '"Rise Up Singing). This version has a more uplifting and forward looking message, "Will the circle be unbroken, by and by Lord by and by. There's a better way to live now, we can have it if we try. - I was born down in the valley where the sun refused to shine - but now I'm climbing - up to the highlands - Gonna make all those mountains mine".

The song first gained attention due to the Carter Family. The song has been covered by many groups and musicians including Blind James CampbellBob DylanThe BandThe Staple SingersJohn FaheyRoy AcuffJoan BaezThe ChieftainsJerry Lee LewisGene VincentRalph StanleyThe Black CrowesKristin HershJohn Lee HookerBill Monroe, the Nitty Gritty Dirt BandPentangleSpacemen 3Country Joe McDonaldJohn StatzSpirit of the West with The Wonder StuffMavis StaplesThe Felice BrothersJohnny CashGregg AllmanWillie Nelsonthe Neville Brothers Jeff BuckleyMobyAgnes Chan, and New England Weather. Its refrain was incorporated into the Carl Perkins song "Daddy Sang Bass" and the Atlanta song "Sweet Country Music." It is primarily covered in gospelbluegrass, and folk, but versions in other genres exist. Most cover versions of the song use the alternate title Will the Circle be Unbroken. In 1998 it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.