My brother Tim and I have always walked the non-conformist pathway, especially in our music... the first rule being 'there ain't no rules' when creating any kind of art.
Do not let anyone try to convince
you otherwise... ever!"
"The Carter Family legacy has always been about honesty, integrity, originality and vivid imagination especially in their passion for music..."
Danny's upbringing in the mountains of North Carolina instilled a natural rural rhythm in this highly regarded singer, songwriter and instrumentalist that is undeniable. It's obvious that his background, direct descendants of the Carter Family music dynasty, and passion for playing provided the groundwork for a life spent creating music that dishes out constant hints of rock and roll, spice and organic flavors. It's no coincidence that with years of touring as one-half of the eclectic group, The Carter Brothers Band, playing their own mixture of "Appalachian, folk, rock, funked up, bluegrass, gypsy blues," that Danny is ready to step out with his first solo project, Barcelona. He was, as a youngster, directly influenced by the traditional folk and bluegrass sounds of the North Carolina region as well as the Piedmont Blues he heard as a child in Central and Northwest, NC. It would be later, as young man, that he would study the folk, Celtic, heavy blues rock style of bands like Led Zeppelin and in particular guitarist Jimmy Page.
On Barcelona, all of these styles meld and everything comes full circle. Finally, the musical inspirations of his past and the beauty of Spain brought everything into focus. Danny's signature 12-string guitar prowess, which he brings to life on Barcelonawith his vintage 1967 Rickenbacker 360-12 string guitar, shines and brings a smoky atmosphere to the entire album. "For as long as I can remember, I loved and played 12-string acoustic and electric guitars," he says. "I was mostly inspired by old Beatles records and the King Daddy of the 12-string, Roger McGuinn, and The Byrds," he says. "It was also used a lot in the Piedmont Blues style which is unique to where I grew up in the Piedmont area and foothills of North Carolina. I incorporated the sound heavily into the Carter Brothers folk rock/newgrass/Americana music, early in our career. It made our sound very unique because no one else was really blending the 12-string with the banjo and mandolin. On Barcelona, I loved the idea of mixing it in with the Hammond B-3," he adds.
Barcelona boasts 9 tracks all penned by Danny and songs like "Green River" conjure up the wood-smoked blend of bluegrass and Americana that the Carter Brothers have become known for. "People really seem to connect with this song," he says. "It is pretty unique musically with the 12-string guitar and Johnny Neel's B-3 work along with some soulful backup vocals by Tonya Dennis and Jess Hardy. All together, it really mixes my Americana folk rock influence with the southern soul and gospel roots I grew up hearing."
The Johnny Neel that Danny refers to is none other than the former longtime Allman Brothers Band keyboardist. Things took a decided leap forward into blues territory when Neel joined the fray. Neel is the writer of the Allman Brothers radio hit "Good Clean Fun," and brought a plethora of experience, groove and downright soul to the album. He plays Hammond B-3, Fender Rhodes piano and grand piano and harp on the CD and as Danny puts it, "Is a MONSTER!"
Danny recalls years ago dreaming of doing a solo album and thinking about what artists he'd have participate in the recording process. "My brother Tim and I started talking about doing solo albums 10 years ago and I knew back then that Johnny Neel would be doing the keyboard stuff. When Johnny is really inspired by a song, he is a magician and totally incomparable to anybody. His sound turned out to be such a huge part of this album. His B-3 organ work on "Green River" is almost like another vocal part. It's so melodic and in your face. On "We Got Work to Do," his piano work is so pure. Man, he was possessed when recording that track!"
Barcelona also boasts some other incredible players like Danny's good friend, Jack Pearson, who plays acoustic resonator slide guitar on "My Baby Thinks I'm Great." Pearson is well known for his work with Steely Dan and his six tours with The Allman Brothers to mention a few. "Jack has probably appeared on just about every guitar magazine cover imaginable," Danny says with admiration. Drums and percussion were taken care of by the talented hands of Latin beat specialist, Dan Sherill. "He really provided a unique groove throughout," says Danny. Brother Tim Carter adds his own touch with some masterful banjo and mandolin playing and Carter Brother's bass player and in demand session player, Ross Sermons, adds the underbelly of the music with his upright and electric basses.
As a writer, Danny composes in the style of a storyteller. "It's mostly fiction stuff with undertones into my personal life" he says. Danny has maintained an artists publishing agreement with DreamWorks Nashville for over 10 years. About all of this he says...
"I feel so blessed to spend my life writing and performing along with
my brother, Tim. I have the utmost respect and love for him...
as a musician and a friend."
Danny and Tim continue to tour full-time with the Carter Brothers Band. Danny taking his penchant for rock and blues and mixing it with brother Tim's solid bluegrass and folk style and moving forward on a musical journey that began long ago. But, on Barcelona, Danny makes it abundantly clear that inspiration is found in many places and a trip to one of the most beautiful cities in the world, in a country far, far away, finally solidified the thoughts and feelings of a soulman from North Carolina and has brought him into a spotlight of his very own.
Before we talk about Ridgetop and the TreeHouse let me just say that where we live, write and record is exactly 13.3 miles from Music Row which in my opinion is still too close. The further away that I stay from that soulless, totally unoriginal fantasy factory they call 'the Row' the better I like it.
I hear that now you have to have a college degree with an English major and a 'Writing Songs For Dummies' book to get a writing gig down there 'composing' the cliche powered copycat drivel coming out of there these days. I know, I know, to each his own but there was a more creative period 'down there' at one time.
John Hiatt, after a hard night of drinking and partying could sometimes be found curled up and asleep on the front stoop of the publishing house he used to write for….couldn't wait to be the first one inside writing. Of course John is an immensely talented and creative artist. That used to be the rule down there. Now, fresh scrubbed faced just out of college youngsters who decided well, lets see….I want to be a songwriter in Nashville, drive up at 10:00am, Starbucks lattes in hand in their BMWs, go into a room with 3 other people(yeah, it takes 2-5 people to 'co-write' crap now). After 30 minutes of 'writing' a verse and chorus full of tired old meaningless clichés they meet for their lunch reservations at an upscale Music Row restaurant and afterwards making their tee-time for 18 holes. After that they return to the 'office' and maybe write another dull verse before returning home around 3:30-4:00pm before the traffic gets bad and having a nap before dinner worn out after a long hard day at the 'factory'. These are the successful 'writers'.
I do realize that there are hardworking young writers down there who spend years trying to reach their potential levels as songwriters. They put in many hours and work hard just to get a demo recorded and maybe a cut on a major artists new album of which most tunes don't make it to the final cut on said album…but it looks good on the 'resume'. I wish them godspeed and hope they all achieve their Music Row dreams. I've been in Key West many times during the week of the BMI sponsored Songwriters Festival down there…..and I guess that's all I'll say about that, at the risk of coming off too negative. Well……..nah, forget it!
Much Love and Hope