Carter’s Chord Are ‘Doomed’ for Success
Carter's Chord, the sibling trio signed to Toby Keith's Show Dog-Universal record label, have been making music their entire lives. Immersed in the country music scene since early childhood, it's no surprise that the sisters -- Joanna, Emily and Becky Robertson -- have created a career based on the music that shaped their early years.
"Country music was a huge part of how we grew up," Becky tells The Boot. "Our parents were both in Waylon [Jennings'] band. Our mom sang his background vocals and our dad played the keys all during the Outlaw years. Growing up, we were surrounded by music. It was like a musical conservatory sometimes. There was always somebody playing something or working on projects. We had a studio upstairs in our house, so from the time we were really young we were able to go up and record in the studio or write songs, even as kids, so for us, it was a huge influence."
While the girls cherish their upbringing, they didn't realize how unique their childhood was until they reached adulthood -- or how profoundly their lives would be affected by that time period. "We kind of thought that everybody had what we had," Becky explains. "I know when Joanna was young, she thought that everyone had a studio in their house and everybody had parents that were on the road from time to time, so it was such a big part of our reality that we never really knew anything else, and that just translated to what we've decided to do with the rest of our lives. We joke that were doomed to this business, but we wouldn't have it any other way."
The sisters made their recording debut by performing on Waylon's kid-friendly album, 'Cowboys, Sisters, Rascals & Dirt,' more than 12 years ago. Even though the legend never got to see the girls perform as country music stars, his presence stays with them. "Waylon had a huge influence on us growing up, but a lot of it was us being little and playing at the house," Joanna recalls. "Unfortunately, he didn't get to see us as Carter's Chord, because he passed away before we really formed a band, but he still had a huge influence on us and who we are. One thing he encouraged us to do was be ourselves and not compromise too much so the music has to sacrifice. We always follow that example."
The sisters undoubtedly felt his presence when they made their Opry debut earlier this year. "It's such an amazing thing to be singing on a stage that so many people in history have done the same," Emily acknowledges. "We actually sang at the Ryman, not the Grand Ole Opry House, but it was even cooler at the Ryman, because that stage is so historic and so wonderful. To be there and doing the Opry was definitely a dream come true. I'm pretty sure Becky was on the verge of crying all night."
"I cry at Applebee's commercials!" Becky admits with a laugh. "It was definitely one of those things that got to me."
The Carter's Chord girls are fresh off the road, after performing a series of shows at Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill restaurants. It was, they agree, the perfect way to introduce themselves to country music fans. "We kind of morphed a radio tour into a tour of Toby's I Love This Bar and Grill restaurants, giving people a chance to see us live and see what we do, rather than just going into stations and playing for people in conference rooms," Becky notes. "It's been fun for us, because it allows the fans to really get involved. And these clubs are amazing! They just keep popping up in some really great towns all over the country. It's been great for us to be able to play new music for everybody and also check out these bars that Toby has been opening. They're a pretty good time, I have to admit!"
"It's a fun bar crowd," Joanna continues. "They're just wanting to drink and have a good time, so we've had a lot of fun playing these gigs."
The visits at the famous restaurant chain did have one tasty downside -- the menu! "I would have to say the fried mac and cheese appetizers with a ranch dipping sauce are my favorite," Joanna reveals. "It's like 50 million calories but it's so good!"
The sisters are back in Nashville for a little while, but are ready to fire up the bus anytime. "Life on the road is a lot of fun," Emily notes. "We tend to just crack each other up a lot, because you're so tired and you've been running around everywhere, so all you can do is laugh. We definitely have a good time. It's fun, just the three of us doing this as sisters. We try to keep the roads as stress-free as possible and keep it a fun time."
Although, the sisters are enjoying some time at home in Tennessee, and relishing a few rare moments of solitude. "When we're on the road, we share a hotel room and we literally do everything together, but that's all we've ever known," Becky explains. "Our parents were on the road and were musicians, and it's just something we've always done as a family. There's definitely moments when we need our space, but at the end of the day, we really are each others best friends."
Carter's Chord have several new tunes recorded, and are currently weighing their options. "We have seven songs recorded and they're all original songs which is really nice," Joanna reveals. "Toby Keith and Mark Wright are both producing. It's been so much fun this past year. We've been in the studio a lot in 2010, and we may do some more or we may just have these songs. We're not sure yet. "We're just really excited about this new music."
Their latest single, 'A Little Less Comfortable,' is steadily climbing the charts. Watch the video here.