Remembering Dave Carter, who saved me…again

Dave Carter

Dave Carter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before I became what some call a poet, I couldn’t tell a Sara Teasdale from a Saran tea cozy, a Billy from a Tom Collins. But I recognized what I considered mastery of words and how some men and women gave them a heartbeat that mine would echo, a vision that I could see.

Besides Dylan, (Bob, not Thomas) Paul Simon (to whom I give thanks for that last bit), Leonard Cohen, Nanci Griffith and their rarefied ilk, there came late to grace my mind’s ear a songwriter most of you probably never heard of named Dave Carter.

And seemingly as soon as I “discovered” him, Dave was taken away, at age 49, by a heart attack just a few counties east of here in Hadley, Mass., on the morning of July 19, 2002.

This passing hit me in a way I did not expect…harder than I would imagine during this time of my depression and illness. And, in retrospect, I think the poet (for he was a poet of brilliant gifts) Dave Carter’s death may in some way have been a spark toward my becoming a writer again after I came through my little heart and head issues a few years ago. You never know when that tap on your shoulder will come again, so I decided to become the me you’ve come to read.

I was feeling a little blue today and wasn’t sure exactly why, I’m sure it’s a compost heap of things, from which I hope someday something fine will grow. But, once I remembered the date and listened to a bunch of Dave’s songs with his partner in music and life Tracy Grammer, I remembered how lucky I am to still be here and able to express myself as I now do. Certainly not so well as that poet of the plains, Dave Carter did. More like a poet of the plain, and that’ll have to do.

I may never be published, may never submit again, but I can’t deny what I’ve been given.

Do yourself a favor and check out some of Dave’s lyrics someday, particularly The Mountain and Tanglewood Tree.  Until then, here’s a glimpse of Dave and Tracy doing his song that I want played on my way outta this somewhat brightening world. Maybe I’ll meet Dave then in Happytown. It’s called When I Go.

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3 thoughts on “Remembering Dave Carter, who saved me…again

  1. There is an annual Songwriting Contest that is part of our annual Sisters Folk Festival. Dave Carter won the very first songwriting contest, and then he died. The fine folks at the Folk Festival renamed it the Dave Carter Songwriting Contest in his honor. I wish that I’d been around in the day, to hear him perform. He is near and dear to many of my friends here. Thank you, Joe, for writing this. And some day, come west to the Sisters Folk Festival.

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