Carter Sampson: Lucky

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As seen in Guitar Girl Magazine Issue 7

Carter Sampson may hail from Oklahoma, but for her fifth studio album, Lucky, she traveled to Colorado with her signature red boots on and her powerful vocals ready and raring to go. The grandeur, breath-taking beauty, and backcountry steeped in history of the Rocky Mountain State is evident throughout, as is her inspiration, both musical and literary. She recruited legend author, Shel Silverstein, to write a song for the album, and newcomer Jason Scott to produce.

Sampson filled us in on her new album and more.

We love that you’re a musician and the founder and director of the Rock & Roll Camp for Girls in Oklahoma. How do both feed your creative interests and complement each other?

They really go hand in hand. I started a rock and roll camp for girls in my home state because I know that I would have loved to have attended a camp like that when I was a teen. I needed female role models then just like I do now and RCGOKC gives that to me and others. I walk away from camp every year feeling more inspired than the year before.

Your latest and fifth album, Lucky, features many musical collaborators, mostly new. Was that intentional, and what was the songwriting and recording process like?

Last summer my friend Jason Scott and I were in Colorado playing some shows, and I had a few days off. I had several half-finished songs, and we spent time together finishing and improving them. I was so excited about the new tunes that we set up a little makeshift recording studio in my friend’s dress/costume closet and recorded the scratch tracks for the album there. Working with Jason Scott as co-producer, co-writer, and engineer really just magically came together, and I am really grateful that we combined powers. I have a really great band right now, and most of them are on the record. The others who aren’t in my regular outfit are all Oklahoma musicians that I totally admire.

How does your songwriting process work; do the lyrics or music come first, or sometimes both?

Usually, an idea or lyrics come first. I have tons of parts of songs in journals and on my phone. I recently started playing the tenor guitar, and a lot of Lucky was written on it. It is tuned in 5ths, so I think it makes me write music differently than I have in the past.

What guitars and equipment do you use while recording, and do you use anything different when performing live?

My tenor guitar is a 1960s Harmony with cracks in the sides and a bunch of Rock Camp girls’ signatures on it, and I don’t understand how, but it sounds like a dream. I have played a Larrivee D-04 for 15 years that I play live, but we used Jason’s Gibson B-25 and ES-125 on the record. My favorite piece of stage gear is my BiX Acoustic Preamp Pedal by Grace Design. I use it for both tenor and six string acoustic guitars, and no matter where I plug my guitars it makes them sound great.

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