100 Greatest Women, #81: Deana Carter

deana-carter100 Greatest Women


Deana Carter

An overnight sensation, more than a decade in the making. Deana Carter was born in 1966, the daughter of legendary country session guitarist Fred Carter, Jr. She developed a love for music early, and was ready for the big time long before the big time was ready for her.

She first tried to secure a record contract at the tender age of 17, but even with her dad’s connections, she found no takers. So she spent a few years developing her style, a subtle mixture of seventies light rock and acoustic country-pop. When she finally landed a record deal with Capitol Records in the early nineties, she recorded her debut album, which was bizarrely released in Europe only, and was shelved as label president Jimmy Bowen exited.

His replacement, Scott Hendricks, sent Carter back in the studio to cut new tracks, resulting in her debut album, the cheekily titled Did I Shave My Legs For This? As the label prepped to launch Carter stateside, they initially planned to release “I’ve Loved Enough to Know” as the first single. But the competitive market led them to send out “Strawberry Wine” instead. A slow waltz reminiscing about lost innocence, it was a massive hit, topping the charts for two weeks.

Carter racked up two more #1 singles, “We Danced Anyway” and “How Do I Get There”, as her debut album went multi-platinum. She went into the 1997 CMA Awards with a leading five nominations, and when ‘Strawberry Wine” won Single of the Year over the widely predicted Tim McGraw & Faith Hill hit “It’s Your Love”, she jumped into the arms of startled presenter Ricky Skaggs.

Her next project, Everything’s Gonna Be Alright, went gold, but didn’t fare quite as well at radio, despite three excellent singles, particularly the haunting ballad “Absence of the Heart.” Carter switched to Arista Records, and released the moderately successful I’m Just a Girl in 2003, featuring the hit “There’s No Limit.”

By then, Carter had tired of the major label scene. She signed with indie label Vanguard and released her most personal album to date, The Story of My Life, in 2005. Carter wrote every song on the project, which was warmly received by critics as her most fully realized work yet. Her most recent release, The Chain, found her not only covering the artists that influenced her, but singing with a few of them as well, with guest appearances by Kris Kristofferson, George Jones, Willie Nelson and others.

Deana Carter

Essential Singles

  • “Strawberry Wine”, 1996
  • “We Danced Anyway”, 1996
  • “How Do I Get There”, 1997
  • “Did I Shave My Legs For This?”, 1997
  • “Absence of the Heart”, 1998

Essential Albums

  • Did I Shave My Legs For This? (1996)
  • Everything’s Gonna Be Alright (1998)
  • The Story of My Life (2005)

Industry Awards

  • CMA Single of the Year – “Strawberry Wine”, 1997

==> #80. Jessi Colter

<== #82. Marie Osmond

100 Greatest Women: The Complete List


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