Mourning Jeff Carson, One of the Coolest Country Stars I Ever Met
When I heard the news that '90s Country singer Jeff Carson had died, I was flooded with memories of a truly nice down-to-earth guy who visited Bangor in the '90s.
I was dozing off on a lazy Sunday afternoon when my phone buzzed. The newsperson in me can't resist checking to see what news story prompted an alert. When I read that Jeff Carson had died, I couldn't believe it. Taken far too soon at the age of 58, felled by a heart attack at a Tennessee Hospital.
Jeff Carson started out as a songwriter and was behind some hit songs for artists like Faith Hill and Reba McEntire. As a solo artist, he went on to release songs like, 'Yeah Buddy,' 'Not On Your Love,' and my favorite, 'The Car.'
But my memories of Jeff are not of the music he released, but of the person he was. It was around '94 when Carson paid a visit to Q-106.5. Word got out that Jeff was a major law enforcement fan, so we had some police officers drop by to give him some patches from Maine agencies. In addition, they gave him an actual police billy club. He was so tickled by that, like a kid with a new toy.
A few months later, Curb Records flew me to Washington D.C. for a Jeff Carson showcase. Record companies used to hold these events where they brought in radio people from all over the country for a private show. It was cool. But there was a glitch to this one. See, we had all just returned from a national radio seminar in Nashville, during which Jeff basically blew out his voice.
He had laryngitis on a night when he was expected to impress a bunch of radio geeks. So what did he do? He sang, or rather, he tried to sing. By the time he was preparing to launch into his third painful-to-listen-to song, we were all laughing and begging him to stop and save his voice. We all piled into a bus and went to a local restaurant for Mexican food and lots of beer. Jeff was full of fun and energy, the kind of guy you want as a best friend.
As sad as I was to hear Jeff Carson had left Country Music years ago, I smiled when I heard he had joined a Tennessee police force. I'm sure he was a great one. He returned to recording in 2019 with the release of a remake of the song, 'God Save The World.'
Rest in peace, Jeff Carson. Thanks for the music and for a couple of my favorite career memories.
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