When I heard the news of the death of 90s country singer Jeff Carson I was flooded with memories of a really nice guy who visited Bangor in the 90s.
I was dozing off on a lazy Sunday afternoon when my phone rang. The reporter in me can’t help but check which story triggered an alert. When I read that Jeff Carson was dead, I couldn’t believe it. Taken far too early at the age of 58, shot down by a heart attack in a hospital in Tennessee.
Jeff Carson started out as a songwriter and was responsible for 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 about the music he released, but about the person he was. It was around 1994 when Carson visited Q-106.5. We learned that Jeff was a big fan of law enforcement, so we had some cops drop by to give him Maine agency patches. Moreover, they gave him a real police truncheon. He was so tickled by it, like a child with a new toy.
A few months later, Curb Records took me to Washington DC for a Jeff Carson showcase. Record companies used to have these events where they would bring in radio stations from all over the country for a private show. It was cool. But there was a little problem with this one. You see, we had all just returned from a national radio seminar in Nashville, where Jeff basically blew his voice. He had laryngitis one 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. As he prepared to launch into his painful third song to listen to, 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 your best friend.
As sad as I was to learn that Jeff Carson left Country Music years ago, I smiled when I learned he had joined a Tennessee police force. I’m sure it was a big 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. Thank you for the music and for some of my best career memories.
In memory of the country stars who passed away in 2021:
May they rest in peace…