On Bill Carter, the recordings are no frills-edgy, with Carter providing all the vocals and instrumentation. Take “Crossfire,” for example, which opens the album with his sparse, stripped down production. On this version, his world weary tenor is a cry for help in the confusion of dehumanizing distraction.
The humorous “Why Get Up” — covered by the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Robert Palmer — takes on a universal question, while “Anything Made of Paper” is a re-telling of his tribute to the West Memphis 3’s Damien Echols and becomes a story of unrelenting love and endurance in the face of cruelty and injustice.
Not one to mine clichés, Carter immortalizes a real Chicago criminal’s flamboyant farewell on “Willie The Wimp,” and takes listeners down a dangerous strip of road in Texas on “Jacksboro Highway.” There’s the moment by moment of capturing the emotion of anticipation in “Paris.” He rants like a psychotic fugitive on “Fire On The Wire.”
“I am inspired to write by everything I experience; the weather, an odd conversation, a weird observation about someone, something that’s happening around me, and books I’ve read spark songs,” he explains. “Other music always penetrates my soul, especially the past masters who created the American roots blues, country, jazz, bluegrass and R&B. Writing is so cerebral that discipline is a major factor in delving deep into the cosmic consciousness and extracting some form of original substance.”
With all its simplicity and emotion, Bill Carter is a gripping and honest collection filled with his perceptive lyrics told through an artistic blend of folk, rock, blues and Americana.