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Austin360 On The Record: Bill Carter, Whitney Rose, Caroline Says

Peter Blackstock


Bill Carter, self-titled (Forty Below). Not your typical new-material release, this 10-song collection is more akin to a songwriter’s resume, featuring fresh readings of high points from Carter’s long and prolific writing career. It’s also a true solo album: Carter played and sang every single thing on the record, working at E.A.R. Studios in East Austin with engineer James Stevens. The arrangements mostly are stripped down to basics of acoustic guitar and vocals, with occasional accents of rhythm and harmonica. That puts the spotlight squarely on the songwriting, and the results are a compelling reminder that Carter is one of the best American-roots tunesmiths Austin has ever produced. The versions here of “Crossfire” (a Stevie Ray Vaughan hit), “Why Get Up?” (a Fabulous Thunderbirds staple) and “Richest Man” (rendered wondrously by Toni Price on her first album) bring each of those songs back to their core. Other tunes appeared on previous Carter solo albums and collaborative or one-off projects. All but two were co-written with his wife Ruth Ellsworth Carter; native-Texan Nashville ace Gary Nicholson and roots-rock mainstay Randy Weeks also turn up in the writing credits. Playing Oct. 25 at Antone’s. Here’s the video for an earlier version of the track “Fire on the Wire” that appeared on Carter’s 2-13 album “Unknown”:




Caroline Says, “50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong” (Western Vinyl). Issued only on cassette in 2014, this enchanting indie-pop record has recently got a new lease on life when noted indie label Western Vinyl gave it a wider release in August. The quartet is led by songwriter Caroline Sallee, who recorded these songs in Alabama before moving to Austin. The album’s 11 songs are beautifully conceived, arranged and sung; Sallee’s voice hauntingly swirls around chiming guitars and echoing keyboards; it’s easy to become immersed in her dreamlike soundscapes. The band is working on a new record tentatively set for release early next year. Playing Oct. 5 at Barracuda. Here’s the video for the song “I Think I’m Alone Now”:



  • OCT. 20: Willie, Lukas & Micah Nelson, “Willie and the Boys: Willie’s Stash, Vol. 2” (Legacy).
  • OCT. 20: Porter & the Bluebonnet Rattlesnakes, “Don’t Go Baby, It’s Gonna Get Weird Without You” (Cornelius Chapel), release show Oct. 21 at Stay Gold.
  • OCT. 20: Tommy Howard, “Storybook” (Destiny), release show Oct. 22 at Elephant Room.
  • NOV. 1: Brian Pounds, “Southern Writer,” release show Nov. 16 at Cactus Cafe.
  • NOV. 3: Drew Kennedy, “At Home in the Big Lonesome,” playing Dec. 12 at Gruene Hall.
  • NOV. 17: Reveleros, self-titled, release show Nov. 17 at Good Shepherd on the Hill.