Weaned on Nashville studio sounds and smells, Deana Carter makes a trip back home


Twenty years ago, when Deana Carter was enjoying the then-record-breaking crossover success of a grand-slam, multi-platinum No. 1 debut album, you just didn’t see barefooted country singers onstage too often. Neither were concertgoers very likely to smell incense from the stage or backstage areas at country shows until Carter, an alternative roots-and-folk-rocker around Nashville in her twenties, showed up on the national scene.

“Girls weren’t doing split kicks off the drum riser with a Telecaster, all that stuff,” Carter laughingly notes of the rock ‘n’ roll elements that influenced her stage show. You also didn’t see female artists, and especially new ones, co-producing their records. Carter, the daughter of noted Nashville session guitarist Fred Carter, Jr., seems to have been born a true original, but there’s no discounting the impact of growing up around recording studios and their distinctive atmosphere.

“It was so exciting,” Carter says, recalling encounters at RCA’s Studio B and entering at the back door where musicians loaded in their gear―sometimes for four three-hour sessions per day. Sessions on which Fred Carter Jr. played with unconventional out-of-towners such as Simon and Garfunkel or Bob Dylan could last even longer into the night, and Carter and his creative colleagues were in fact part of the reason why artists of that stature were leaving their New York studio haunts to soak up the flavors of Music City.

“My dad would be doing sessions and he’d call my mom in the middle of the night and say, ‘I need my Telecaster. Come get the 12-string.’ So she’d load us up in our pajamas and load up guitars and we’d go head down to 16th,” says Carter, a California resident who grew up in Goodlettsville, a good 20 minutes or more from Music Row.

Deana Carter wrote Kenny Chesney’s hit featuring Grace Potter, “You and Tequila.” PHOTO COURTESY OF DEANA CARTER

The experience imprinted itself powerfully on the young Carter. “The smell of, like, rubbing alcohol and those six-inch swabs [used for cleaning tape recorder heads], cigarettes and ash trays, burnt coffee . . . carpet on the walls―you’ve no idea how much I love … CONTINUE READING ORIGINAL SOURCE

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