"Just Plain" Shane ( bass)
Mckuen Thomas (steel guitar)
David Harper (drums)
In an age when country music is dominated by contest winners, freshscrubbed adolescents, and prepackaged pop (read "new") country pretenders, Rick Alan Carpenter is the genuine article. Ive been dead drunk, dead broke, divorced and damn near dead more than a few times he intones. Ive successfully avoided success for 20 years. Carpenter has played as a sideman in numerous country and rock bands in Los Angeles as well as Nashville, where he currently resides. He has opened for everyone from Boy Howdy to Van Halen, playing huge auditoriums, closetsized bars, and every type of roadhouse and honkytonk in between.
Born in the east and raised out west, Carpenter started playing the guitar at thirteen. My mother played the piano and always entertained when people came over, so I caught the bug early on. He started playing bass as well and found out he could get more work as a bass player, because everyone wanted to play guitar.
After a few years playing bass in several rock bands, Rick Alan rediscovered the country music he heard as a kid. I had a friend who had thousands of records, Buck Owens and Merle Haggard , Wynn Stewart, Tommy Collins, all the great Bakersfield stuff, I felt reborn.
The cowpunk scene in LA had spawned Dwight Yoakam, The Blasters and Lone Justice, and the neo-traditional country sound appealed to Carpenter. I played the Palomino, but was getting tired of California, and headed for Nashville with my guitars and a suitcase full of sad songs in 93.
Carpenter soon found out, however, that Nashville wasnt interested in real, traditional country music. Perry Howard (Harlans son) said I was old school, which I took as a compliment, though I dont think he intended it that way. Undaunted, Rick Alan kept writing and performing in bands and on writers nights all over town. I met Scott McEwen, a great stand up bass player who has played with Hank III, and Rosie Flores, and he encouraged me to record some songs at his studio.
The resulting sessions became the new CD Outside of Nashville a 6 song EP that showcases Carpenters love of real country music. The production is raw, the songs cut through, nothing like the slick sound Nashville currently favors, he says, Im very pleased! Carpenter wrote all the songs and plays all the guitars , with help from Mark Horn (Derailers ) on drums, Carco Clave (Asleep at the Wheel) on steel/dobro, Jeremy Garrett on fiddle, McEwen on bass, Bob Grant on mandolin, and Randy Finchum singing back up vocals. Stand out songs include Same Old Heartache and Nothing Left to Lose (But the Blues).
The struggle for recognition goes on, but recent shows at the Bluebird Café and the Hall of Fame Lounge in Nashville are certainly encouraging. I get the feeling that real country is coming back strong Carpenter states, audiences are very responsive and, to me, thats all that matters.
2005 Rick Alan Carpenter
Yes, anywhere and everywhere! I live in Nashville so there are plenty of clubs, cafes and lounges.
I'm a fan of the Beatles, Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Alan Jackson, Dwight Yoakam, the "Johnnys" (Cash, Horton, Paycheck, Lee), George Jones, Clint Black, all the Hanks, CCR
I'm a lefty so I've had to search for guitars. I've got a Taylor 510 (before they ruined 'em!) a 70's Gibson J-50 Deluxe, a Fender Strat, Telecaster, and a "frankenstein" P-Bass! For amps I'm currently using a Fender '65 Twin reissue