A "Relapse" For The Positive
April 12, 2018 (Eugene, Oregon) - Relapse is defined as the deterioration back to addiction after a period of improvement, but what is “improvement?” A subjective term to the viewer, listener and proclaimer. Modern country music has found itself “improving” with a deep bass, vocal alterations, and a hip hop undercurrent; a style that country crooner James Carothers of Nashville, Tennessee found himself trying to imitate before he hit his relapse. A relapse back into the old school country sounds of Waylon Jennings, George Jones, and Johnny Cash. A relapse back to an album, fittingly called, “Relapse.” This is James Carothers and this is his addiction to true country music.
Relapse is an album dedicated to the true style of the all time greats of traditional country music. In fact, the dedicated ear of Outlaw Country music fans will notice that every song on the album plays tribute to a different style of traditional country music, even including the Bodhran drum on the Irish influenced song “Frost.”
How does traditional country music today get discovered? In a not so traditional way, that’s how! Social media fan pages such as, “I Hate Pop Country,” with almost 900,000 cult-like followers, can help an artist hit unprecedented level of viewership that assists them with booking. Such luck hit for Carothers when his song, “Back to Hank,” reached 244,000 views and over 7,000 shares.
“It’s been great!” Carothers said about the assistance of social media. “Before, when my wife [who also doubles as his manager] would contact for me to play, instead of saying, ‘Hey, could you please book him?’ she can just simply show them the link and they can see the fan reaction.”
Carothers got his start in the Church of Christ, singing acapella. His connection to the church runs deeply, he’s currently a deacon in the same church he started at.
“It’s more modern now, but I still go to church… and, probably, if I was a country singer and it was the 1960’s, they would have kicked me out, but now they are more accepting,” he said with an appreciative laugh.
Growing up, Carothers was a fan of the greats, such as Hank Williams, Jr., Merle Haggard, and George Strait. His father was a songwriter and once had a song that made it all the way to the big stage of the Grand Ole Opry where it was played on a daily basis by an artist named Mike Snider. Carothers talks about how SEEING that song on television, which was a big deal back then, was really inspiring and the hard work, long days, and the process that it took to take that song from a piece of notebook paper to a song on television, always kept him moving forward.
Three years ago, an opportunity came knocking and it was in the form of Mrs. Nancy Jones, the widow of the famous country singer George Jones. Soughted and hand-picked by Mrs. Jones herself, Carothers was asked to be the voice of The George Jones, a smokehouse music hall created around the memorabilia and brand of her late husband. With his uncanny impersonation of traditional country music, he has been able to take his new country music with old school roots to new crowds.
Fans who turn up in droves at James Carothers concerts are usually in Cody Jinks hats, been to a Sunny Sweeney concert and know at least all of the songs of Ward Davis. These artists are all a part of the strong grass roots efforts of Texas Red Dirt Country and Outlaw Country.
Not sure if you're a fan yet of James Carothers? You will be soon because he’s just an average, hardworking guy with a dream, just like you and I. A dream that keeps getting better and better as he is set to take the stage as an opener for one of his idols, Alan Jackson, next month at the Grand Ole Opry.
“I am just like any rodeo contestant,” Carothers mentions. “I may not ride broncs or bulls or rope, but I spend my money every day to get in my vehicle and go up and down the road to take a gamble on a performance and just hope that at least some of them pay off.”
To see James Carothers and band at an area near you, check out his schedule on his website where you can also buy his new album “Relapse,” and stay tuned for information on the George Jones Tribute Album that will be released soon. If you’re looking for your next country music opener or headliner for your rodeo, convention, event, or music festival, don’t hesitate to relapse back to traditional country in a new way with the up and coming James Carothers.