Jeff Carson Interview
by Nigel Sharpe for Country Music News International
Jeff Carson has come full circle with careers that have allowed him to do the two things that he loves –music and police work. As a youngster, he and his family would sing three-part harmony on trips. One of those trips was to Branson, Missouri, where he saw a show that inspired him to tell his high school counselor that he wanted to get into music. The counselor didn’t discourage Carson; instead, he picked up the phone and made some phone calls and that encouraged Carson to pursue a career in music.
Carson quickly learned the places to meet other music business folks were the songwriter nights at local Nashville clubs. He also volunteered to do demos for songwriters for free so he could get his foot in the door to sing demos.He sang demos onsongs that turned into hits for Tracy Byrd (“Walkin’ To Jerusulum”), Tracy Lawrence (“I See it Now”), Reba McEntire (“The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter”) and Tim McGraw (“I Wouldn’t Want it Any Other Way”), Faith Hill (“It Matters To Me”).”
Country music hitmaker and Academy of Country Music award-winner Jeff Carson died of a heart attack at Williamson Medical Center in Franklin, Tennessee at the age of 58.
Jeffrey Lee Herndon, known musically by Jeff Carson, was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on December 16, 1963, and began his musical career early on singing in church. After forming a band in Rogers, Arkansas, Carson eventually moved to Branson, Missouri where he wrote songs and played around locally before moving to Nashville where he began recording demos, including Tracy Byrd (“Walkin’ To Jerusalem”), Tracy Lawrence (“I See it Now”), Reba McEntire (“The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter”), Tim McGraw (“I Wouldn’t Want It Any Other Way”), Faith Hill (“It Matters To Me”), Mark Wills (“Places I’ve Never Been”), Diamond Rio (“Mirror Mirror”) among others. In 1995, Chuck Howard was instrumental in getting Carson his recording contract at Curb Records, and soon a single, “Yeah Buddy,” was released to radio. This was his first charting single and was followed up with ‘Not On Your Love,’ which went number one. The following single, ‘The Car,’ became a top-five hit, topping out at number two and won Carson his first Academy of Country Music award for “Video of the Year.” Carson had several other singles, including “Real Life (Was Never The Same Again)” from his album “Real Life.” In total, Carson’s career achieved 14 charted singles on the Billboard chart.
In 2009, Carson retired from music to become a law enforcement officer with Franklin Police Department in Williamson County, Tennessee, where he currently remained on the police force.
Carson returned to music in 2019 signing a singles deal with MC1 Nashville to recut and release a previously recorded song “God Save The World,” which charted on the Music Row Top 40 chart. Most recently Carson signed with Encore Music Group and has been in the studio with Buddy Hyatt recording a specialty album to be released later this year that included duets with Michael Ray, Darryl Worley, Mark Wills, and Craig Morgan.
Jeff Carson is survived by his wife Kim Cooper Carson, son Dayton Grei Herndon Carson, mother Virginia Norton, brother Steve Herndon, sister Karen Spurlock, as well as aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews.