Music lovers who transform their living rooms into venues for touring artists provide an intimate setting, as Mike and Jan Hollen do at Hill Country West. And their informal events sometimes feature accomplished artists who could easily fill an auditorium. That was the case recently, when erstwhile Portlander Craig Carothers came to the West.
Now making his home in Nashville, Carothers has released ten albums in the last twenty years. “A couple of ’em aren’t bad,” he says. Carothers songs have been recorded by Trisha Yearwood, Kathy Mattea, and Peter, Paul, and Mary, to name a few. Half of the year he’s on tour, and the other half he spends in Nashville writing, producing, designing album covers, and “goofing off.”
Completely at ease in front of the cozy West audience, the masterful storyteller tickled his fans with his finely honed humor. Serious or kidding? You’re never sure with Carothers. Check out “More For Me” from his tongue-in-cheek CD, “The Card,” for example.
Carothers may be best-known for writing Little Hercules, recorded by Trisha Yearwood. But the virtuoso songwriter/guitarist, distinguished by his buttery voice, only keeps getting better after performing live for more than 30 years.
On the road, he often collaborates with other A-list artists, like his good friend and Grammy winner Don Henry, pictured above. Titled “Alpenglow,” Carothers’ latest release features Bruce Hornsby on keyboard. He and Bruce co-wrote the two tunes on which Bruce plays and that was quite a thrill. As of late September, the CD was available only at his live shows.