Fiddlin’ Carson Peters… An All-American boy with a God-given talent

Published 1:04 pm Thursday, January 13, 2022

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It’s Friday night at Citizens Bank Stadium and football fans are gathering to watch the Elizabethton Cyclones. The Cyclone Boys gather in the front row of the students’ section as they do for every home football game, and in their midst is a young man whose talents have taken him from the Grand Ol’ Opry to national television.

But on this fall Friday night, Carson Peters is just a member of the Cyclone Boys, here to cheer on his classmates.

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“I am just a normal high school kid that will paint himself in 30-degree weather and go watch a ballgame,” Peters said. “It’s that type of dumb stuff teenagers do.”

But Peters isn’t just a normal teenager. The Elizabethton High senior performs around the region with his band, Iron Mountain. He has appeared on the Grand Ol’ Opry stage with Ricky Skaggs — where he explained the difference between a fiddle and a violin by saying that a fiddle has “strangs” and a violin, “strings.” Peters has shared the stage with Betty White on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. And, most recently the up-and-coming country and bluegrass musician competed in NBC’s “The Voice” competition, showcasing his talents on a national stage.

Just getting on the show was a challenge as Peters had to audition virtually and then compete through seven more auditions just to make it on the stage with a hope of getting a chair to turn. The judges for “The Voice” included Blake Shelton, John Legend, Arianna Grande, and Kelly Clarkson. Peters was hoping that just one would turn for him when he initially took the stage but was staggered when not one, not two, not three, but all four chairs turned after his performance.

Ultimately Peters choose Shelton to be his coach. Peters said that although Shelton tries to present a vibe that he doesn’t know as much about music theory as he acts, for Peters’ experience he said Shelton definitely does.

“It might not be as technical as the other coaches but he knows what needs to happen in a song. That was good working with Blake because I don’t know those fancy terms either so it was good. That information in a more simple way was good for me. The biggest thing that surprised me about any of the coaches was how hands on Arianna is with her team. The people that were still on the show at Thanksgiving, she had them over to her house with her family. She really did a really good job in her first season with her team,” Peters said.

“Those tears that she cries are real. We knew they were real when they were filming it. We would sneak into the wardrobe room where there was a television and every time she would cry for 20 minutes. She was having trouble keeping it together. She is a kind-hearted person and it was hard for her, especially for her first year.”

Peters and his mother, Robin, had to spend three months in Los Angeles for the taping and he missed the entire summer with his friends, leaving when school was out and returning just as school started back.

Meanwhile, his father didn’t get to have much interaction with his wife and son until Peters appeared on the show and his father, Jamie, became a big hit at his work.

“It was different for mom and dad because mom was with me and dad was at home,” Peters said. “With COVID, you could only take one parent. Me and mom had a good time. Most of our time was spent in the hotel room. Being able to walk around LA together was pretty cool. When the show started airing dad got to enjoy it. We are all still in shock about it.”

And although he didn’t make it as far in the show as he wanted to, just having the experience opened his eyes after seeing all the talent that is out there fighting for record deals and a lifetime career in the music industry.

“The biggest takeaway for me is how hard I am going to have to work to establish a long-time career in music. I think being around that concentrated amount of talent just opened my eyes to how there are this many people and millions more that want it just as bad as I do and I have to start wanting it more than they do. It really gave my work ethic a kick in the butt and now I am trying to establish more connections,” Peters said.

For Peters, all his endeavors have come with an outpouring of support from people in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia and, most important, his hometown of Elizabethton.

Yet, win or lose, Carson will always be Carson.

“I am glad I go to EHS because I don’t think it would have been that way anywhere else. It’s small enough where I know everybody and they don’t have to treat me different. I can play golf and tennis,” he said.

During the fall, he has been out on the links where he has helped lead his team to several match victories. He sings with the Men’s and Mixed Ensemble at Elizabethton High School under the tutelage of Debbie Gouge.

And just like any typical teenager who is preparing for graduation, Peters has already set his sights on where he wants to pursue his college degree. He has been accepted into Belmont University in Nashville. Peters will major in music business which will allow him to still be involved in music in the event that touring as a music star doesn’t work out. He added that he could find himself playing fiddle for someone in the industry or even managing music acts.

But for right now, the plan is simple. “I am going to take the publicity from ‘The Voice’ and run with it as long as I can.”