Oct 28, 2011 07:37 AM WV Sound
Keeping a beat in the Mountain State
Bud Carroll: A Musical Force
Best known for his work with WV-based southern rock band American Minor, Bud Carroll and the Southern Souls, and indie/powerpop band AC30, Huntington resident Bud Carroll plays guitar, drums, bass, piano, cello, and, well, even more instruments. Lately, though, he says, “I mainly consider myself a songwriter.”
Bud is finishing up a solo record titled At Least I Can Still Smoke in My Car, and he plays guitar on the AC30 self-titled album out now. He also records his own music and runs a residential recording studio in Barboursville called Trackside.
Looking to distance himself from the southern rock sound he became known for with American Minor, Bud explores influences across several genres in his current songwriting. “I like to keep the melody at the forefront of everything I do, but I have a definite pop sensibility, and there’s definitely no way for me to keep out the blues and country influence,” he says. “I try to keep some punk rock involved as well as a huge Anglo influence, but it’s my sound, through and through.”
Bud has experienced some real highs along the way to finding his unique sound. He’s been playing guitar professionally since he was 12 years old, won the River City Blues Competition in Marietta, Ohio, and performed in various clubs all throughout his teenage years. On his 21st birthday, he joined American Minor, who moved to Illinois and signed a major deal with Jive Records. The band toured extensively for a couple of years playing gigs across the U.S., Canada, and England. Bud was doing exactly what he always wanted to do.
He says things began to fall apart, though, and Jive Records neglected promotions for American Minor. The band broke up in 2005, and Bud returned to Huntington and struggled somewhat—trying to find his place as a musician again. “Everything I always wanted to do came and went before I turned 25,” he says.
But Bud began staying in his apartment more nights, writing new material and learning how to record. “I started to realize how much music meant to me and no one could ever take that away from me,” he says. “In the end, it wound up better this way because I became a more accomplished musician and songwriter. The way you have to live when you are on a label and touring, it takes you to the extremes of your sanity and wears you thin.”
After American Minor, Bud Carroll and the Southern Souls formed with Steve Barker on drums, Jon Cavendish on keyboards and organ, and Jimmy Lykens on bass. “We had a bunch of different gears. We could play a punk song, then turn around and do a ballad, a country song or something that sounded like Radiohead,” Bud says. They recorded their full-length debut, Wasted Words & Best Intentions, in Athens, Ohio, and performed on Mountain Stage in 2010. After some of the musicians moved out of state, the band dissolved.
These days, Bud enjoys recording at his home studio and working on his soon-to-be released album, At Least I Can Still Smoke in My Car, on which he played many of the instruments. Though he does not have any gigs of his own scheduled, he is looking forward to performances this winter with AC30 to promote their new album as well as preparing for his solo project (which will include a band for live shows). At Least I Can Still Smoke in My Car will be available on iTunes and at gigs.
“My goal is not to have my face on anything,” Bud says. “I just want to make something that feels great to me and resonates with people, and I don't see how being on record label has anything to do with that.”