Two Decades Later, Deana Carter Looks Back on ‘Did I Shave My Legs For This?’

 

 CHUCK DAUPHIN • APRIL 4, 2017 - 2:44 PM

 

Twenty years ago, Deana Carter was riding high on the musical seas with her debut album, Did I Shave My Legs For This? Listeners instantly became fans of the five singles that became hits off the disc – “Strawberry Wine,” “We Danced Anyway,” “Count Me In,” “How Do I Get There,” and the humorous title track. But……did you know that there is an interesting back story to the multi-million selling album? As it so happens, the American version of the album was actually the second time that Capitol issued music under Carter’s name.

“I recorded the first edition of the album with Jimmy Bowen and John Guess,” Carter recalled for Sounds Like Nashville. “I wanted to put it out in Europe first, and go tour over there, and get my feet wet. I grew up in Nashville, so being that I was a Nashville native, I wanted to have my chops down.”

Growing up the daughter of legendary studio musician Fred Carter, the singer said she knew she wanted to make the most of her first impression with audiences here in the States. “I felt a lot of pressure, and wanted to be my own artist. I asked Bowen if we could put it out in Europe first. He told me that I would need to ask the head guy in L.A. He said yes, so I went over there with a guitar and a suitcase. I went to London, landed, a tour manager took me, and we went to rehearsal. I was in my twenties, and hadn’t really been away from home, so I was brave about that, looking back. That was the first rendition of ‘Shave’ then we came back to the states, and we recorded a few more songs, kept quite a few of the old ones, and packaged it all together, and that became the album that you have now. It was a long time coming.”

One of those songs was “Strawberry Wine.” Released to Country Radio in August of 1996, it introduced the songstress fans in the United States, and quickly hit the top of the singles chart. It paved the way for the American release of the album, which recently went on to sell over five million copies.

Capitol Nashville has just re-issued the album for the first time on vinyl, and Carter made the Music City media rounds to promote the release. She says that era was one that she will never forget. “It was such an exciting time. Those were the days where we did the big bus tours. You might have ten artists going on each side of the interstate. We’d be on the CB, pull over at a truck stop and hang out together. There was a lot of camaraderie between the artists then. That was really important. There was such love and support behind the music, and that really mattered. When I saw people start to connect with ‘Strawberry Wine,’ it was a great feeling, especially with our live performances being a little more edgy.”

The success of “Strawberry Wine” led to the song being named as the CMA Single of the Year. Carter knows she will never live down the moment when she jumped into the arms of presenter Ricky Skaggs when he announced her name as the winner. “I love it. I hope they show that clip forever. I hope when I’m ninety-five, they’ll give some award, and I can jump up and down again and re-live that moment. It was so unintentional, and was so in the moment,” she recalls fondly.

Though many fans have bought her records over the years, she says the fact that fans still ask about album cuts amazes her, but she considers it a blessing. “I’m blown away that they listened that deep. I’m moved when people bring them up, because they do mean a lot. Sequencing an album for me is as important as the mastering of it and how it sounds. I’ve always been vocal about that process. For people to listen to album cuts, there are so many ‘love’ moments that have gone into those songs that people may never hear. We were blessed to have five singles off of this record, which was – and is – unheard of for a new artist.

And, what is Deana Carter doing these days? “I’ve been doing some movies, and doing some music for those films. That’s been a lot of fun. I’m still out touring. The shows have been going great. The longer time goes by, the more classic the record gets, and the more people come out to hear it,” she says. She also shares that she is working on a new record.

The most recent hit single to come from the Carter catalog was one that she didn’t perform: “You and Tequila,” a 2011 hit for Kenny Chesney and Grace Potter. The song was written by Carter and Matraca Berg. “That was a love fest between me and Matraca. She’s such a great writer and artist. Being a local growing up here, her mother was a singer in the studios, and worked a lot with my dad. We always have had a connection, and I looked up to her so much. She was so young, and took risks as an artist, and she was so different. She was one of the first people I wanted to write with. To have a hit with another artist was very special, and such a blessing, and to have the Nashville writing community to vote the songs as one of the ones they wished they had written. I have that plaque hanging on a wall, that means so much to me, coming from this community, as a songwriter. My first hits were written by other people, and I treasure them just as much, but when I finally got credit as a songwriter from another artist. Seeing the discovery from someone when they realize I wrote that song is very sweet.”

Did I Shave My Legs For This? is available for purchase on vinyl HERE.