I had known about Vickie for years, having watched her on various country programs on The Nashville Network in the 80s. A few years ago, a friend of mine who operates a studio on Music Row asked me to create a music video for one of the local songwriters. Vickie was one of the background singers on the session and her connection with my friends started an association that has been entertaining and educational -- Randy De Ford.
Vickie Carrico: Oh yeah!!!! Tons of great bands AND I got a great musical background in Catholic school from the nuns, believe it or not. You had to sing the right notes or get a ruler across your knuckles!!!!! LOL!
RAD: You seem to run the gamut as far as styles are concerned. Which artists influenced you the most over the years?
VC: This is a tough one…..I remember vividly when Dad bought our first record player and he brought home 3 albums, Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis,and Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass. They all blew me away. Then of course, I loved Connie Francis, Brenda Lee, Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, Tina Turner, The Beatles, The Animals, Yes, Pink Floyd, oh hell, the list goes on and on!!!!!!
RAD: Any road stories you’d like to share?
VC: Probably shouldn’t, HA! When I was on the road with Dottie West, we traveled about 200 days a year!!!!!! A LOT happened….oh but here’s a good one from before that time. I was still working with a group out of Louisville called Brother. We lived on the road doing Ramada Inns and Holiday Inns. We’d play 2 weeks at each place, 5 sets a night, 6 nights a week.
I’ve got crazier stories, but I don’t want to get anyone in trouble….ha, ha! Oh wait, here’s one that won’t incriminate anyone……I was working with a new singer named Randy Gurley who got a chance to tour as the opening act for The Oak Ridge Boys, and she hired me to sing backup not too long after I moved to Nashville. Anyway, the last day of the tour, I was going to meet up for a couple of dates with Johnny Rodriguez. In order to do that, I had to catch a red eye out of someplace in California, and meet Johnny and the gang at Six Flags in St. Louis. The only problem
VC: I have to say that though the music business has changed quite a bit through the years, and even with economic decline of the last few years, Nashville has been pretty consistent about new music going out. However, I do have to say that the digital downloading has taken a toll on the industry. On the other hand, there’s a lot of great indie music coming out, and you can hear incredible music in this town, 7 days a week!
RAD: You are also a songwriter. Are you most creative with input from other writers or do you tend to take the lone road?
RAD: You were involved with television for many years on The Nashville Network. What was that experience like?
VC: I had a blast!!!!!! I also learned how to read and write number charts, which has been invaluable since we typically had to sing on about 18 songs a day on some of the shows and we would tape about 10 shows in a week!!!! Also, it was great for me, because when I first came to Nashville, a few “big wigs” said I should go back to where I came from because I sounded too bluesy!!!! On those shows, we did nothing but country music which I love as well, and I got to prove that I could sing that as well. My Mom and Dad were so excited that they could watch me on TV doing their favorite music! On a side note, I got to be one of the voices on the Flying Cows of CMT and in the same week, got to sing on a ZZ Top song. I called my Mom to tell her and she yelled at my Dad, “Vickie’s one of those flying cows”…..she didn’t care a bit about the ZZ Top session that I was all geeked about!
RAD: As a well known background vocalist, what cities have you visited to record?
RAD: You also perform with other singers and songwriters. What other groups and activities are you a part of?
VC: I have been so lucky to work with a ton of incredible singers and players. Besides Kentucky Thunder and my own thing, I sang for a long time with a funk band called Chameleon, and a group called Volcano of Soul with Marc Alan Barnett, Jimbeau Hinson, and our mutual dear friends, Dana McVicker and Jay Vernali. I also have done guest spots with an incredible band here called The Long Players. This is a group of über talented singers and players who are also session folks, artists and songwriters who will take an album and cover the entire thing. I’ve gotten to do an Aretha Franklin, LADY SOUL and Carole King’s TAPESTRY with them. They get several singers to do the material and it’s always packed and ALWAYS mind blowing!!!!!! I also get to be a part of lots of benefits and that always entails loads of great peeps.
I have to tell you that I started reading there 20 years ago, because I was whining one day to a friend of mine during a slow work period that I was worthless because my session work was slow. He said, girl, you have a great voice, so quit your pity party and use it for some folks who need more volunteers! I got over myself and called the number he gave me. I’ve been doing it ever since. I’ve also done some vocal coaching through the years. I don’t advertise it, because I’m not ‘technically trained” nor did I get a music degree. But sometimes, I’ll work with singers if they ask. I just started vocal coaching via Skype this past year. I wasn’t sure it would work, but it does!
RAD: I know you’ve recorded with some major artists over the years. Can you give us a cross-section of the talent you’ve been able to work with?
RAD: You have two albums available, a solo venture and one with Kentucky Thunder. I’m sure you were involved with the songwriting on both albums. Do you lean towards ballads or do you prefer higher energy concoctions?
VC: I love both! I love to rock out hard, and I love to get down on emotional ballads. Kind of like life. It’s such a rollercoaster, and though I haven’t ridden one in a park since St. Louis, I’ve enjoyed the hell out of my ride on this planet. AND, I’m not done!!!!! Thank you so much Randy…..you made this a lot of fun!!
VICKIE CARRICO ON THE WEB:
Backing up Tracy Nelson (with Jonell Mosser)