Carter Winter. If you have not heard that name by now you must be listening to your same, predictable playlist and not expanding out into the genre of “modern traditionalist” artists within the country music scene. The first time I saw Winter perform, which was about a year ago, was when he opened for Chase Rice here in Louisville, Kentucky. At the time, Winter had released his first five-song EP, “Some Kind of Fire”. Though it was not being played on radio stations around this area, it came in at #15 on the iTunes Top Country Albums Chart.
During his performance, I recall saying to my friend, “Wow, he is really good, that voice is amazing, he just seems so nervous”, as he tended to be a little timid during his set. But hey, we have all been there, in a situation where we are doing something we have been dreaming of forever and then faced with the reality of doing it, having a few hesitations. What resulted from that original show a year ago, for me personally, was that I purchased the EP and it is still on my playlist of “favorites” today, and I am forever a “Carter Winter Fan”.
I was excited to see him live again a year later and see how he had progressed with his stage performance as well as how the crowd would receive him. Even now, unless you are one of the thousands following him on social media, you probably still have not heard of him, considering radio stations in this area are continuing to bypass this asset to the genre. Winter released his sophomore EP in June of this year titled, “Whiskey in Me”.
On a Saturday night, at the Tin Roof Louisville, Winter took the stage and greeted the crowd with an abundance of confidence and declared the party was now starting and he asked everyone to join in with him and the band for a good time. The crowd was a little hesitant, as some can be when they are not sure what to expect. It did not take them long to turn around, take notice of what was happening in this venue, walk up to the stage, pack the floor and join in on the party. Winter began with a cover of Dustin Lynch’s “Hell of a Night” and straight into his current debut single, ”Lipstick on My Bottle”, continuing to alternate between his originals and cover songs from Garth Brooks and Jason Aldean.
The crowd was extremely receptive to his originals over the cover songs, which is typically the opposite when you are still a fresh, new artist, who again, is not being played in regular rotation on mainstream radio. However, in Winter’s case, his original songs; “Fight With”, “Whiskey and Wine” (which appears on his first EP and is a collaboration with Ray Gibson, referencing Jonny Cash and June Carter-Cash), and “Bad Boy” were the most well-received songs of the show. With this "Bad Boy", the crowd sang along and knew the lyrics word-for-word. I must admit, that is probably one of my top five favorites in Winter’s catalog.
As for stage presence and performance, once Winter drew them in, he never lost them. In fact, the longer the set went on, the larger the crowd became. He engaged them as if they were all his friends, gathered around having a party, and even came off the stage at one point to dance with a couple of women in the crowd.
Winter has something very special going for him with this modern traditionalist genre of country music that few seem to even try. He has a voice that is pure talent, sleeves of tattoos that give him the bad boy, edgy feel; mixed with a heart of gold and sincerity that is the bow to wrap up an all-in-one package, appealing to the college demographics as well as the older, self-proclaimed traditionalists of country music.
Get your copy of “Whiskey in Me” on iTunes and where ever digital music is sold and while you are there, grab your copy of “Some Kind of Fire” as well. I am excited to catch back up with Winter a little later this year for a sit-down interview. Until then, catch him on tour in a city near you, there are new dates added daily and do not forget to follow him on social media to stay up to date on the latest with Winter and the boys.