Sign up for newsletter

Carlene Carter goes her own way

By Jeffrey B. Remz, November 1995

Page 3...

The album was a family affair as well. Carter's father, Carl Smith, considered one of the finest honky tonk singers until retiring in 1977, did a duet with his daughter on "Loose Talk."

At 68, Smith still can sing.

Amazingly enough, the two never sang together on record until the day before the recording session. "We sang it through like two times at the house," Carter said. "He don't need to practice... Singing with my father was intimidating... I was in awe."

" I was like 'wow,' Carter said. "I kept forgetting I should sing, that kind of stuff. Then he grabbed me by the arm. He said, 'it goes like this.' He sang clear as a bell, right on the button."

Carter said she "always wanted" to sing with her father, "but I didn't want to presume to (do) it on my dad... He left when he was rocking and the height of his career and never had to go through that horrible thing of the changing of the guard, which I think is so hard for people who are entertainers."

If Carter has her druthers, she said she would like to hang it up in five years." I can't ever imagine not writing or not playing on stage," Carter said. "I just don't know if I'd be road warrior." Carter did a short one-week tour, including stops in Portland and Boston in August around the time her album was released.

At one point, the road grind almost derailed Carter's career. "I don't tour like majority of country acts do," she said. "I tried touring constantly and tried to write and record. I felt it didn't work for me. I was miserable. It was the only point in my life where I thought I never want to do this again. I was burnt out. I had nothing to offer anybody. I had to pull off the road for awhile. I love to perform. "

Carter has charted her own course throughout her career. "I think for myself, every time I've done an album I've gone a little further on the ladder," she said. "I don't measure by how far I get up the chart. I look at it if I'm doing good work, if I'm singing better, if I'm writing better, if I'm making better records. If I ever get to point where I'm so damn great, there is no point at getting up in the morning."

"I try not let my music controlled by outside forces or by my bank accounts," she said. "I'm always on the brink of total financial disaster."

"Obviously, it's really nice to be able to make a living at this," she said. "I'm not rich. I'm not one of the top five females. I feel I do stand on my own two little feet. I don't feel I'm competing for the crown of top female queen or top female vocalist. I always wanted to be the great majestic ruler of my own planet."

« PREVIOUS PAGE 1   |   2   |   3