CMO: Have you started the production of a new album?
Jeff: Yeah I sure have. I’m going in the studio with Doug Johnson now. I’ve been moved over to the Curb side of Asylum. It’s a new imprint label that Curb has come out with. I’m going to be on Curb Asylum. Doug Johnson, the head honcho, over at that label, is producing it. We’re still looking for songs. As a matter of fact, I just got back from a writing retreat Sunday night from the weekend. We went out to East Tennessee and had a song writing retreat, we’re all writing songs, trying to get something to finish up the album.
CMO: What advice would you give to someone going into the music business?
Jeff: Don’t do it! No, it’s great. If that’s what you want to do. Thank goodness I’ve been blessed with a career that allows me to sing and make a living (quote on quote) out of doing that. Just to be able to make a living doing something you love is all you can ask for.
CMO: What goals have you accomplished and what do you still want to accomplish with your career?
Jeff: Well, at the time that “Not On Your Love” came out (that was my first album, Jeff Carson self titled) It was my second single ever put out & it went #1 on all the charts. I didn’t really realize what a goal it was. I guess that was my first initial goal although I didn’t even have that set yet, & really didn’t appreciate it at the time. Looking back, it means a whole lot more than I ever knew it would. The next goal is to have a gold album. I’m getting close. The first album got close to 500,000 units but that’s my next immediate goal. To have a gold album.
CMO: What are some of your likes and dislikes about touring?
Jeff: I love touring because I love playing in front of people. I love performing songs, especially ones that people know. There is no bigger thrill in the world than playing a song you’ve recorded and seeing people out there singing along with me and mouthing the words. That’s a great thrill. The only downside I can think about touring is being stuck in the bus & hotel. I hate being out on the road & not having any way to get around. You wake up in the morning in a bus, you’re at a hotel, get off the bus, sit around the hotel. Many times I’d like to be out sight seeing a little bit but your kind of stuck on the bus and then you drive the bus over to the venue wherever you’re playing and then your stuck there.
CMO: If you weren’t a recording artist, what would you be doing?
I always had a real interest in law enforcement. I always wanted to be a cop. In matter of fact, I was just officially deputized in Pontotoc County, Mississippi two weekends ago by a sheriff out there. That was a thrill.
CMO: Where do you find the ideas and inspiration when writing a song?
Jeff: They can come from anywhere. I do a lot of hunting or I’d like to do more than I actually do hunt, but I love to crawl up the deer stand in deer season and when it’s so quiet & your minds kind of free to think a little, that’s where I get a lot of ideas. Other times you’ve got to make yourself write. Go in and set a date with another songwriter and sit down & just write. Just go through a list of song ideas you’ve written down. Some of them can come from anything. A commercial. I got a few song ideas from watching an episode of “Ed” last week. They can come from anywhere.
CMO: Do you hunt or fish in different states when you are on tour?
Jeff: You get a chance to fish more than anything. It’s easy to grab a pole and find a pond somewhere if your close to the side or something. Hunting is another story. Something about taking out firearms in some place you don’t know. Plus it’s illegal. I don’t get to hunt much on the road. Although, I am doing this August, Craig Morgan (a friend of mine) has invited me out with him. It’s 1000 miles north of Quebec, way up there in Tundra?! country. Up there in Canada. I’m really looking forward to that.
CMO: I’ve noticed that you’ve had multiple #1 singles with Christian-Country songs. Do you have any plans of recording a Christian album in the future?
Jeff: No, you know. Some of my songs have I have recorded have crossed over on the Christian charts. They were not really written that way. Like Shine On was one that crossed over and did well. Another one that I did co-write with Jim Weatherly “Scars and All” wasn’t really written in a spiritual manner but it’s one of those that kind of works that way. I’m a positive kind of guy. They might cross over unintentionally but I’m a country artist.
CMO: At what age did you start performing?
Jeff: The first time I started singing in front of anyone was in church. I guess probably 3rd grade. I got my first job playing & actually made $30 a night or whatever right out of high school with a little family show there in Rogers, Arkansas. That was my first paying gig.
CMO: Out of all your videos, which one is your favorite and why?
Jeff: It’s a toss up between “The Car” and “Real Life.” “The Car” is always sentimental to me. I’ve still, whenever I’ll see that video, it’ll give me goosebumps. Where the hand is adjusting the rear view mirror and it’ll catch a picture of the dad sitting in the back seat. That gives me goosebumps every time.
CMO: What kind of songs do you look for when you go in the studio?
Jeff: Songs that I like for whatever reason. If it’s a ballad, particularly, I’ll look for the message in it. A song that people can relate to. That’s a big plus in the book. Sing a song about something that has happened to them in one way or another. That’s what I look for in a ballad. Up-tempo could be anything from a great guitar beat or something with a good beat.
CMO: How would you describe a typical day in the studio.
Jeff: Fun. Man, I love going in the studio. Even back from singing demos for many years here in Nashville for other songwriters. I’ve got a lot of studio experience even before I went in for my first album. There’s good camaraderie’s between the artists and all the pickers. Everyone always has fun. It’s just a fun thing to go in the studio & everyone is in their own separate booths cracking jokes & all that kind of stuff. It’s fun.
CMO: If you could do a duet with anyone, who would it be?
Jeff: Probably James Taylor. He’s always been a hero of mine. I’ve always loved his stuff. Someone who I listen to still more than anyone else.
CMO: What has been your motivation behind your accomplishments?
Jeff: Money! Money is just a plus. I would take the fame over the fortune. I’ve had people come up to me and apologize and say “Can I maybe get an autograph?” Man, I’m flattered when someone wants an autograph. It’s in the event that no one wants an autograph & doesn’t care, that’s the sad part.