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Bill Carter Tackles the Unknown

Waterloo Records in-store today previews new album

By Margaret Moser, 2:47PM, Tue. Jan. 29, 2013

Bill Carter Tackles the Unknown

The title of Bill Carter’s new album, Unknown, might double as the answer to, “Guess who’s playing in the Blame tonight?” At Waterloo Records – 5pm today – Carter’s backing band the Blame will consist of all-stars Denny Freeman, Andy Salmon, and Donny Wynn.

Anyone familiar with the longtime local knows Carter’s Hall of Fame credentials as a songwriter. His material – often written with his wife Ruth Ellsworth Carter – has been recorded most famously by Stevie Ray Vaughan (“Willie the Wimp,” “Crossfire”).

Even without that name, the Carters’ roster of clients glitters: Ruth Brown, Waylon Jennings, Robert Palmer, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Counting Crows, Brian Setzer, and John Anderson. Most recently, the couple’s longtime friend and Bill’s bandmate in one-time supergroup P, Johnny Depp, interested him in the case of the West Memphis 3.

“Anything Made of Paper,” one of two tracks by Carter in Peter Jackson’s documentary West Memphis 3 – about three young men unjustly convicted as teens for the murders of three boys – appears on the star-studded soundtrack album. Patti Smith, Nick Cave, Lucinda Williams, and Natalie Maines covering Pink Floyd’s “Mother” (aleady in heavy rotation at KUTX) cushion “Anything Made of Paper,” which also appears on Unknown.

Carter’s heart lies in the music of Unknown, an uncompromising double-teaming of rock and blues with his trademark muscle and punch. Because he rarely records and only sporadically plays, Unknown sounds like the good stuff Bill Carter’s been saving up for himself.

Smart.

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