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Fred Carter, Jr., Famed Musician, Dies at 76

Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

Fred Carter, Jr., the Nashville-based musician whose distinctive guitar was heard on recordings by several of the most influential and popular country and pop artists of all time, died Saturday, July 17. He was 76 years old. The father of country singer Deana Carter, he was also the inspiration for her 2007 album, ‘The Chain,’ featuring her covers of songs on which he played guitar for the original version.

Among the most well-known songs on which he can be heard are Marty Robbins‘ ‘El Paso,’ Bob Dylan‘s ‘Lay Lady Lay’ and Simon and Garfunkel‘s ‘The Boxer.’ He also worked with rockers Roy Orbison, Ronnie Hawkins and Dale Hawkins, and also with pop star Conway Twitty before Conway made the move to country music.

Carter also played with the legendary rock group the Band for a time and produced albums for that group’s Levon Helm. In 1984, Reba McEntire recorded ‘I Want to Hear It From You,’ written by Carter.

“He had an idea about the overall picture that a song paints,” his son Jeff Carter tells Nashville’s WSMV-TV (quote via CMT), “not just on his instrument but all the instruments together, the song itself, the artists and the sound of a particular studio. He really had an overall awareness of what it took to make a hit.”

“He had a studio called Nugget Records in Nashville for a long time,” Deana said in 2007, “and that’s kind of where we hung out most of my childhood, where most of these people were in and out. He ran ABC Records in Nashville for a little while back in the day. He’s worn a lot of hats.”

Visitation will be Tuesday (July 20) at Woodlawn Roesch Patton Funeral Home on Thompson Lane in Nashville.

Download Fred Carter Jr. Songs

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