Carter Sampson
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Carter Sampson

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2004 | SELF

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2004
Solo Americana Singer/Songwriter

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Oklahoma Band Q&A: Carter Sampson
Oklahoma Band Q&A: Oklahoma native Carter Sampson talks returning to Oklahoma City, working on two new records and gender playing a role in her music.
By Becky Carman, For The Oklahoman • Published: September 19, 2014

Carter Sampson is the real deal. Her voice is both sharp and sweet; her dedication to her craft apparent. A near-lifelong singer and songwriter, Sampson plays about 200 shows a year nationwide and is working on an acoustic EP and a full-length record.

Photo - Carter Sampson is an Oklahoma born musician who has been playing since she was 15. Photo Provided
Carter Sampson is an Oklahoma born musician who has been playing since she was 15. Photo Provided
Sampson said she’s also eager to bring another of her passions, Rock and Roll Camp for Girls, to Oklahoma City within the next year.

Q: You moved back from Fayetteville, Ark., last year. Why did you make the move there initially, and what brought you back?

Sampson: I lived in Fayetteville for a couple of years and moved back to Oklahoma City in April of 2013. I think I needed a change at the time; I also met a boy, and that had a lot to do with it. (Laughs.) Everyone in the Fayetteville music community was super encouraging and kind, willing to share gigs, very accepting. Once I started playing more in Oklahoma City and thinking about moving back here, I saw that same thing happening. And all of my friends have great bands or are great songwriters here. I’m home.

Q: Music has been your only profession for a couple of years now. Has that shift in responsibility changed anything about the way you approach your music — and all of the career periphery?

Sampson: I do all the booking and everything myself. I went to L.A. last summer and volunteered at the Rock and Roll Camp for Girls. After those two weeks were over, I just took three weeks off, hanging out in Southern California. Then I learned a huge lesson four months later, when I didn’t have any gigs. I have to really plan ahead and keep myself busy, because if I take time off from booking now, then I’m taking time off from playing later down the road.

Q: The music industry is sort of in a place where things are still divided into gender categories. How, if at all, do you think your gender plays a role in your music career?

Sampson: It has, in a big way. The whole reason I started playing guitar was that I wanted to sing so badly, but I didn’t want to rely on someone else to do that. I took a handful of lessons from this guy, this greasy-haired dude who wanted me to learn Metallica songs, and I was a 15-year-old girl. It was so awkward, so uncomfortable.

I’ve gotten really involved in the Rock and Roll Camp for Girls, and I’m hoping to get the one in Oklahoma City going next summer. I’m really excited about that. I think because of my experience and maybe my upbringing, too, I’ve felt empowered (by gender), and that’s why this is so important to me — to teach future generations of girl musicians to not be scared if you don’t see a woman playing a certain instrument — or if you’ve never set up a PA system before. You can do it. It’s not a big deal.

Q: You just had a successfully funded Kickstarter in July, your second one. Where are you in the album process?

Sampson: The project is for two different records. I’m getting ready to release a five-song acoustic EP called “33” digitally. Any day now, I’m going to start working with John Moreland on song development. He’s a friend of mine and an incredible songwriter, certainly the best I’ve ever met. My goal is to take 14 songs to him and for us to work on developing them together, have him tell me if they need to be just not released, or if something needs to be rewritten, or if I need to take words out. Then I’ll go to Travis Linville and start recording. I worked with him before, and it was the most laid-back, awesome experience, and musically, it was a good fit. It was just so comfortable. I’m hoping to start as soon as possible. We’re just working around three different tour schedules. - Daily Oklahoman


The album’s 12 tunes brim with crystal-clear, country guitars celebrating all the joys of rural life — and not necessarily just the whiskey-related ones.
It’s a dusty gem of an Okie-born album (Sampson’s now based in Fayetteville, Ark.), spiked with the occasional blast of organ and glimmering pedal steel from Chris Moore.
Wanda Jackson and Woody Guthrie get a shout-out in Sampson’s fantasy track, “Queen of Oklahoma,” where she’s got a “Dust Bowl throne” and “the wavin’ wheat’s always waving at me.” It’s charming and, most importantly, believable. With her voice winsome and earnest, it’s a great relief to the sassy, affirmative, Miranda Lambert-with-a-shotgun songs that female country singers currently feel pressured to write.
The record chugs to a climax on the fifth track, “Jesse James,” wherein Sampson belts the title lyric more whip-like and intense than the pastoral subject matter would suggest. Here, she’s definitely straddling between country and modern rock, which is pretty impressive considering the cat-lady eyeglass frames she’s wearing on the disc’s back cover.
“Mockingbird Sing” is out now in physical and digital formats. Sampson performs at a free show Saturday at JJ’s Alley, 212 E. Sheridan. For more information, call 605-4543. —Matt Carney
- See more at: http://cartersampson.net/ - Oklahoma Gazette


Appearances can be deceiving.

Folk rocker Carter Sampson’s powerful voice seems too big for her diminutive body, but the so-called Queen of Oklahoma who will play the Sentient Bean on July 2 comes from a musical family that includes superstar Roy Orbison.

She seems to be hard-wired for such a huge, compelling sound.

“I have always loved music and being in the spotlight,” Sampson says. “I was cut from choir auditions in the seventh grade and at that point decided that I wanted to learn guitar so I didn’t have to rely on anyone else to play music.”

In high school, Sampson began thinking about what she wanted to do with her life and came up with music.

“Since then, I cannot think of anything else I would rather do,” she says.

According to family legend, Orbison was Sampson’s great-grandfather’s cousin. There was lots of music in the family, she says.

“My maternal grandmother taught piano; Mother sings in the church choir; Dad taught me how to play guitar and was a big influence on me wanting to play music,” Sampson explains. “I went to Miss Hickman’s School of Music for pre-school in Oklahoma City and that was my first performance. But it was at 16 that I joined a band and played both with them and solo.”

Sampson is a songwriter as well as a singer.

“Writing and performing go hand in hand for me,” she says. “I really enjoy writing and expressing myself, but it is just as rewarding to pass the songs on to others.”

Life experiences influence her songs.

“Sometimes I draw from things that I see or feel or something that I have read,” Sampson says. “Often I will write one or two lines and come back to it later.”

Performing can be exciting.

“One of my most memorable experiences happened about nine years ago at an open mic night in Oklahoma City,” Sampson says. “When I first got serious about writing and performing, I started going to two or three open mics a night. Lots of times, there were only a handful of people and most of them were other performers so it was a great way to try things out.

“One night, Bryan Adams and his band showed up,” Sampson says. “They were in town opening for the Rolling Stones and there were maybe 15 people in the whole bar.

“We asked him to play and he obliged. He played about 20 minutes like the rest of us. After his set someone yelled out for him to play another and he pointed to me and said, ‘I will if she does.’

“So I did, and he came up to the stage, stood to the side and played lead guitar to one of my songs,” Sampson says. “Later, he blogged about it.”

Today, Sampson is based in Fayetteville, Ark. She started singing publicly for fun, but her appealing style soon pulled her into the professional scene.

“When I was 21, I moved to Boston,” Sampson says. “Just for something new, I played music in the subways and it was memorable, for sure. It was another great way to start out because I could play the same five or so songs over and over again because every few minutes my audience would completely change.”

In April 2011, Sampson raised money on Kickstarter.com to record her third studio album, “Mockingbird Sing.” In 30 days, fans and backers donated $6,000 to launch the project.

In return, they received exclusive songs, T-shirts, posters and house concerts. The album was released Nov. 11, and Sampson is touring in support of it.

“Kickstarter was an amazing experience,” she says. “I have never been so nervous about anything in my entire life.

“I knew that I was asking a lot of my fans and was surprised and honored that 90 people cared enough about me and my music to give their hard-earned money to help me make the new CD. I could not have done it without them.”

The CD, which is available atcartersampson.bandcamp.com, features 11 original songs and “John Hardy,” a traditional.

“That’s a song that a lot of my influences have recorded in the past, including Woody Guthrie and the Carter Family,” Sampson says. “The song has many verses and many forms and I really enjoyed choosing the story that I wanted to tell.

“My band, The County Seat, and I recorded it in Fayetteville at East Hall Studios on an old reel-to-reel analog tape deck that gave the album a crisp, clean sound,” she says. “It was mastered by Grammy winner Garrett Haines of Tree Lady Studios in Turtle Creek, Penn.”

The touring life can be tough but rewarding, Sampson admits.

“This will be my first time touring in the Southeast, and I am really looking forward to it. I love that part of the country and hope to tour there regularly.

“I will be completely happy getting to continue to travel and play music. I have the perfect job and count my lucky stars every day.” - Savannah Morning News


Singer/songwriter Carter Sampson is a performer with passion. The Oklahoma native just released her third album, Fly Over the Moon, and listening to it will leave you if nothing else, appreciating her talent. Evident is the truth of her love of what she does but grater than that is her ability to emote the kinds of feelings we all experience. Carter’s voice delivers a punch, even when vulnerability is laced through the lyrics. This release will surely bring some much deserved attention to one of Oklahoma City’s brightest young talents.
While the genre of Carter’s music lingers between folk and blues, something in her style reaches between that. Never one to put herself in a box, she explains that many different types of music have influenced her along the way. Says Carter of the variety, “That kind of makes a person who they are musically. Really, I think that’s why I have always tried to pull a little from everything.” Still, she has her favorites. “Like a lot of girls who sing and play guitar, I was obsessed with Ani Difranco. Then it kind of hit me that I’m really not that political of a person. I’d rather create the more beautiful music that Patty Griffin plays. Both of them are powerful but in different ways. She [Griffin] Is probably my biggest influence right now.” Her sound nonetheless, is clearly her own.
Carter has been playing for nine years and writing for about seven but music has always been a part of her life. She grew up in a family of music lovers and considers herself “really lucky” because of it. Her father was in a band, so performing never appeared to be an unattainable option in life. It was only a matter of time before she would embrace that option.
Carter attended OCU for three semesters and, after the encouragement of and unlikely ally, one of her professors, she dropped out to pursue her dream. She moved to Boston for a year where she worked and played music in subways. Many things have changed since then but the constant has always been her and her guitar.
While being a musician in Oklahoma has its obstacles, Carter’s conviction to create has never taken the backseat to outside elements. Due in part, she credits, to the environment she has made for herself. “I’ve always surrounded myself with really creative people and supportive friends who have always been there for me.” Over the years, Carter has played too many venues to list including The Blue Door and The Opolis. She has opened for such acts as Patrice Pike, Ryan Adams and Susan Gibson. She also recently toured with Bitch and Animal, performing in cities such as Houston and Austin. Carter now stands ready to move forward with her career. She explains, “I’m to the point now where I know this is defiantly what I want to do. And I’m really proud of the songs on this new CD. They all mean a lot to me and I’ve worked really hard on it.”
If you have never seen Carter perform, you can check out her act every Thursday night at Rococo on 28th and North Penn. She says of her shows, “Having people enjoy the music is, ultimately, for me, what’s really important. And I hope they can find something to relate to.” Carter’s music touches on such a variety of topics most people would be hard pressed not to find something to relate to. The song, titled Do All You Could, is on her new CD and is defiantly fitting of her spirit as she explains the meaning. “It’s kind of my mantra,” she says, “My goal is to have fun. You only live once so do everything you can to the fullest and have fun while you are doing it. When it’s the end of your time, you can look back and say, ‘I did everything I wanted to do and all that I possibly could do’.”
If Carter’s future is anything like her past, you can place bets she will. For more information on Carter, her music and her new release, Fly Over the Moon, check out her website at www.cartersampson.com
Kim Camphell- October 2004 - The Gayly Oklahoman


This article appeared after Carter Sampson opened for nationally acclaimed singer-songwriter Patrice Pike.

“Let me digress for a moment to mention the best opening act I’ve seen in some time. Usually, I’m not blown away by the opening act, but Pike was preceded by local singer/songwriter Carter Sampson, who displayed a playfulness and touching vulnerability in her songs. Hopefully, I’ll see her around town and will be able to devote an entire column to her.” Patrick Crain- January 2003
- Loud Magazine


Oklahoma City- With a bevy of beautiful arranged guitar licks and a folky yet fiercely soulful voice. Carter Sampson may well be one of Oklahoma City’s best kept secrets. As Sampson sat down for an interview with The Gayly a few things are obvious by her mere presence. She is a striking individual with a warm and inviting persona. A grin flashes freely as we start to talk about her group The Carter Sampson Three and the difficult path an artist travels to achieve some popularity here, in the Sooner State.

The Carter Sampson Three are; Israeli born Shy Oren who works the low end on the bass. Shy, already decorated with a master’s degree will be returning to OCU to pursue another master’s in music composition. Manning the drums is Tim Lykins, a Michigan native. He is also an alumnus of Oklahoma City University’s master’s program. Filling out the group is Carter Sampson, lead guitar and vocals as well as bearing the responsibility of all musical and lyrical content.

Carter was raised a local Oklahoma City girl, but moved with her family to Edmond to complete High School. Her family has had a big influence on Carter. They are all musically inclined. But it was her father that taught Miss Sampson how to play guitar. She giggles as she mentions that her cousin is the legendary rocker Roy Orbison. Her love of music is infection and it’s apparent whenever you sit to talk with this incredible artist.

She is the winner of the people’s choice Woody Guthrie award in the Gazette. Carter has opened for such visionary artist as Bitch and Animal, Susan Gibson, Patrice Pike and KC Clifford. She has been a featured artist on Oklahoma’s Independent radio station Irok (irokradio.com).

Carter Sampson has put out three Cds. Her first is self titled and is currently out of print. Her second, a live cd from the Blue Door is available in very limited quantities and her third is a studio album, Fly over the Moon. These Cds as well as other merchandise can be purchased at cartersampson.com or on myspace.com/cartersampson.

I questioned Carter on the influence of such internet sites as Myspace and Garageband.com as she agreed that the state of the music industry is seeing a positive change. Her Myspace site has helped her get out of state bookings and she has sold Cs to fans in France and Scotland.

The Carter Sampson Three are currently working on a four song cd. “We recorded it in Stillwater at Flatland Studios and it will hopefully be available soon through Payne County Line records and on cartersampson.com.” When asked to describe the sound, Miss Sampson replied, “it is more red dirtish than my past solo efforts.”

When I asked carter about the difficulties of playing live music here in Oklahoma she responded, “The main issue here is restaurants. When you play bars the energy is completely different. In restaurants you seem to end up as background noise. When you play a gig in a bar, you can get rowdy.” I also asked her to comment on the current state of music, “Pop culture has gotten really bad,” she explained. “Whatever we hear on the radio we like, and 90% of it is not even written by the artist performing it and frankly it’s crap. We have gotten lazy. We no longer actively seek out music we actually like we just turn on the radio.” Carter encourages,” We have so many people that I personally know, who put on amazing live shows but don’t get the support to do what they do.”

Carter looks forward to someday being able to play at more intimate venues where people come to listen. She explains, “Not like the Ford Center, where we go because we feel pushed to, but at places where people really show their appreciation and love for the music. There is a huge local pool of talented artist and no one is listening. More people need to go out in Oklahoma City, just for the music.”

You can catch The Carter Sampson Three at many local hotspots. They have played Remington Park, Nonna’s, Bourbon Street Café, The Blue Door as well as many Tulsa venues. This July you can catch Carter Sampson, solo, at LadyFest in Las Vegas, at the University of Las Vegas, on July 15th and 16th (www.ladyfestlv.org).

If you are interested in booking Carter Sampson solo, or with the wonderfully talented Carter Sampson Three please contact burningbushmngmnt@yahoo.com. To find out more on Sampson, check out her website at cartersampson.com. Mickey Scantlin- July 2006
- The Gayly Oklahoman


This article appeared after Carter Sampson opened for Susan Gibson at The Blue Door in Oklahoma City.

Former Boston street musician and current Edmond resident Sampson opened the show singer her intricate songs and playing guitar solo. “This one I wrote this afternoon,” she said of her first number.
Precious as platinum, Sampson recalled Patsy Cline, Natalie Merchant and Ani Difranco (her auburn dreadlocks tied up with colorful embroidery floss).
“What if I was smarter that Einstein’s daughter… would you love me then?”
What’s not to love? Sampson’s songs had distinctive lyrical might and musical charm. Mildly creepy but endearing, one’s lyrics involved Carter’s grandfather introducing her to Roy Orbison (a relative she never met on earth) in heaven.
“Thank you for giving me your ears,” she concluded.
- Norman Transcript


Juliana Hatfield’s “My Sister” played over the PA to a capacity (160) room of mostly women, chatting and checking out B & A logo socks on the merch table.
Edmond’s Carter Sampson started the show with her massive Okie originals about relatives and riches. She’s the little folk singer Ani DiFranco 15 years ago. Sampson’s insightful lyrics and magic southern pipes are astounding in a woman barely out of pigtails.
“This is about a union organizer who really inspired me,” Sampson said. Its heroine isn’t afraid to fight like hell. She sang a great grandfather song called “Wise Old Soul.”
“Are you ready for Bitch and Animal?” Sampson asked her audience. “We love you,” was the shouted response. Sampson opened for B & A on the tour’s Texas leg.
“It has been the most amazing four days of my life,” she testified. Get her new disc “Carter Sampson At The Blue Door” (2004). It’s a seven-track taste of honey.
Doug Hill- April 2004
- The Norman Transcript


Discography

Self Titled-2002 (out of print)
At The Blue Door-2003 (out of print)
Fly Over The Moon-2004 (available as digital download)
Good for the Meantime-2008
Mockingbird Sing-2011

33-2014 (Digital EP)

Photos

Bio

Carter Sampson is an Okie born, Oklahoma based singer-songwriter. Blessed by a musical legacy from a family that includes such talents as Roy Orbison, Carter’s journey as a musician seems to have been predestined. A naturally independent free spirit, what started as a pastime at age 15 had matured into a dedicated passion of creation and performance. Her empowering, relatable and appealing music has garnered her an incredibly diverse and loyal fan base. Audiences and sound engineers alike find that appearances can be deceiving as this diminutive figure delivers a powerful and compelling performance. Carter has made several appearances at the songwriter’s Mecca, The Blue Door, both opening for artists such as Patrice Pike, Lucy Kaplansky and Susan Gibson as well as headlining her own shows. She has also played The Blue Door's Annual Tribute to Woody Guthrie along with Ray Wylie Hubbard and Kevin Welch. Her songs have been played on radio stations nationwide and she makes live radio appearances regularly.  Carter also plays many outdoor festivals which have included the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival, the Paseo Arts Festival, the Oklahoma City Festival of the Arts and The Illinois River Jam. She spent a year playing music in the subways of Boston creating a following there that quickly led to club dates in Massachusetts and the Northeast. Carter has opened shows for artist like The Elephant Revival, Pat Green and toured Texas and Oklahoma with Bitch and Animal of Ani DiFranco’s Righteous Babe Records. Sampson was named a "Top 12 Finalist" in the Mountain Stage NewSong Contest and preformed at The Lincoln Center in NY, NY. The Telluride Bluegrass Festival's Troubadour Contest gave Sampson an "Honorable Mention".

Her second studio album Good for the Meantime was recorded by Travis Linville at DirtyBird Studios and was mastered by Garrett Hines at Treelady Studios. 

In April 2011 Carter launched a new project on www.kickstarter.com and her 3rd cd Mockingbird Sing was released 11-11-11.  The record has 11 original songs and includes "John Hardy" a traditional tune recorded by artist such as Woody Guthrie and The Carter Family. Mockingbird Sing features Carter's band, The County Seat, and was recorded at East Hall Studios in Fayetteville, AR and mastered at Treelady Studios in Turtle Creek, PA.

Her newest release is a solo acoustic 5 song EP titled Thirty Three (available as a digital download) and she is recording a new full length studio album with Travis Linville and John Moreland in Norman, OK. 

Carter spent the last two years touring the U.S. in her 23ft. RV playing 200+ shows a year and is now based out of Oklahoma City. 


Fly Over the Moon is available on iTunes and www.cdbaby.com
Good for the Meantime is available on iTunes and www.cdbaby.com
Mockingbird Sing is available on iTunes and at www.cartersampson.bandcamp.com

33 is available on iTunes and at www.cartersampson.bandcamp.com

- See more at: http://cartersampson.net

"Sampson has got a killer combination: engaging stage presence, lovely and honest songs and a voice that will knock you out." - EDIE CAREY- SINGER SONGWRITER

"Singer-songwriter Carter Sampson displayed a playful and touching vulnerability in her songs." - PATRICK CRAIN, LOUD Magazine

"Precious as platinum...Sampson's songs had distinctive lyrical might and musical charm." - DOUG HILL, NORMAN TRANCRIPT, POP

"As if Carter's lyrics, voice and stage presence weren't enough to secure herself to the music scene, she's got great hair and travels with her dog." -SUSAN GIBSON, WRITER OF "WIDE OPEN SPACES"

"Awesome singer, awesome songwriter. Highly fucking recommended" - RYAN ADAMS, LOST HIGHWAY RECORDS

"This folksy, bluesy sounding young lady nails her original songs with great skill and confidence, and paints great pictures in your mind of what she is singing about with great clarity, and skill. If you like original music, great lyrics and a touch of attitude, then this young artist's cd is one to get hold of." - STAN MOFFAT, PAYNE COUNTY LINE

Band Members