CD Review of Carter’s Chord by Carter’s Chord
Recommended if you like
Sheryl Crow, Dixie Chicks,
Little Big Town
Label
Show Dog Nashville Records
Carter’s Chord:
Carter’s Chord

Reviewed by Red Rocker

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L
ongterm success in the music industry has never been guaranteed by birthright. Remember Nelson, for goodness’ sake? They were the twin sons of ‘60s rockabilly icon Ricky Nelson, the guy who played second to only Elvis in terms of popularity during that era. Sadly, his sperm was never any better than “(Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection” (feel free to waste your own time finding that gem on YouTube). Barny and Carter Robertson are no icons; they did, however, travel and record with Waylon Jennings (known as the Waylors) throughout the ‘70s, and Barny is now producing music in Nashville. His first production work of note is the debut album from his and Carter’s three daughters, a.k.a. Carter’s Chord, on Toby Keith’s recently formed Show Dog Records. Keith was also present in the booth during the making of this new album.

The essence of Carter’s Chord is nothing unique. They’ve been preceded in the multi-part harmony modern country space, for better or worse, by a gaggle of male, female, duo, and group contenders. At first listen, straight lines will be lazily drawn to Dixie Chicks -- the Carters are, after all, three hot, harmonizing lasses with a Nashville pedigree. Truth is, many of these songs are dead ringers for the Chicks’ stuff. To the credit of Carter’s Chord (and their production team), this debut is as good as it is because it remains firmly stuck in classic country mud. Dixie Chicks, by comparison, have erred (and even offended the traditional Nashville base) by fleeing country for the pop charts, and a more polished and marketable sound.

Carters Chord

Now don’t get me wrong, the Carter sibs are plenty marketable. But vintage country elements reign supreme in the gospel-served “Summer, Early ‘60s,” as well as “Song of Blue,” a woozy slow dance you’ll swear is Patsy Cline. The first single is “Young Love,” and while it’s one of the more Dixie Chickier moments, it’s irresistibly big, sweet, and sing-able. The Carters also show their childhood influences, at least the guiltier pleasures, by naming the album opener “Boys Like You (Give Love a Bad Name).” Didn’t Sugarland already claim Bon Jovi as their adopted country kin?

Fans of modern country crossovers like Sheryl Crow and Sara Evans will take note of the sheer summer giddiness that steers “When We Get There,” while the bruising “Different Breed” could’ve been an outtake from Alannah Myles’ debut album. As tempting as it must have been to force this album down the “American Idol” path, especially given Toby Keith’s past couple releases, Carter’s Chord should be around for a while. This is as promising a debut as these gals could hope to have to build on. They have obvious country roots, they’re surrounded by well-connected Nashville brass, and they could probably harmonize a velvet Elvis right off its canvas.

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