Carlton Collins is Southern, in the finest sense of the word.
Carlton was born in the sleepy southern town of Whigham, Georgia, near the Florida border just up from Tallahassee. He started his singing career singing in the choir of the country church in which he was brought up. This early experience laid his musical foundation and ignited his dreams of being a professional singer.
When he was old enough to drive but not yet of legal age, he started slipping into the honky tonks in other small towns near his hometown. He became friends with the older local musicians of the day, who let him sit in and sing with their bands. He learned a lot from those guys, especially about older country tunes and traditional artists.
Although this was great experience, Carlton eventually wanted more than the local venue provided. He moved to Nashville to try his luck in the music business. He felt he was getting nowhere, so he left after a year or so. Carlton says he then worked every bar and skull orchard in south Georgia, north Florida & east Alabama that he could get his band booked in, and there were a lot of them. He soon felt he was dying of boredom, drinking too much, and working himself into a deep rut.
When he made the decision to return to Music City, Nashville was kinder the second time around. Carlton first connected with Epic recording artist Joe Stampley, who recorded six of his songs on various albums. Conway Twitty's partner, L. E. White at Hello Darlin’ Music, heard Carlton’s work and liked it. That led to a deal with Mercury/Polygram records. Although Carlton says he loved the folks at Mercury, after a year he decided to leave for more artistic freedom. After writing and recording independently for some time, he was signed as a writer by Baray Music, where he got got a Moe Bandy cut.
Carlton quickly tired of only writing and began wanting to record again. The Judd's personal manager Ken Stilts approached him about signing with a new record label that he was forming called Dimension Records. At Dimension, he had a release of his song “Everything But The Lady.”
After Dimension, Carlton winged it as an independent writer in Nashville for a period of time. His close friend, the late Barry "Byrd" Burton of "The Amazing Rhythm Aces" introduced him to Rod Smarr, the former guitarist for "Doctor Hook". He and Rod formed a group called "The Gatordogs", which was successful in Europe.
In 2001, Carlton met veteran producer Phillip Wolfe, and together they produced Carlton’s CD Music City Man, independently released in 2003. Carlton has recently released Roses in the Snow, which includes the song “Chillin’” that appears on Forgotten But Not Gone.
Somewhere tonight, Carlton Collins will be making music. For Carlton, “It don't get any better than that.”
Behind the Song
Knowing Carlton is like having Andy Griffith for a friend. He’s as honest, good, and genuine as anyone could ever be, with a dose of great country savvy thrown in. He’s the kind of person it restores one’s faith in humanity to know. The fact that there were so many such people involved in making this CD made working on it an inspiration.
I was living on the Florida coast on August 29th 2005 when Katrina hit Mississippi, Louisiana and New Orleans. Until a day or so before that dark day we werent sure where this catastrophic hurricane would hit and we watched with jangled nerves wondering if we would be in Katrinas cross hairs. I watched the aftermath from Katrina most of the next day and following weeks on the news. I watched the bungled rescue efforts by inept government agencies. I saw the suffering of the helpless and homeless along with the rest of America. We responded to the calls for help and sent food and assistance to that area. With all that was done, it wasnt nearly enough. These people still need our help. I am honored to contribute to this fresh effort to help the victims of Katrina through this Katrina benefit CD. May this worthy effort be an astounding success.Carlton Collins