Jerry Carrigan

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Jerry Carrigan is an American drummer and record producer born 13 September 1943 in Florence, Alabama. He first achieved widespread recognition by being part of the first wave of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and later as a session musician in Nashville, Tennessee for over 3 decades. He has played with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Tony Joe White, Jerry Lee Lewis, Dolly Parton and many others (see list below).

Biography[edit]

Early Years[edit]

Jerry Carrigan was born in Florence, Alabama, in 1943. According to his mother,[1] Carrigan would abandon new toys as an infant and crawl to the kitchen cabinets to beat on the family’s pots and pans. Later, his father purchased Carrigan a set of drums after the young child had created his own makeshift set, which included an old banjo and brush for a snare; boxes as tom-toms; and old Edison records on sticks as cymbals.
He grew up listening to 1950's R&B, including artists such as Fats Domino, Smiley Lewis, Little Richard and Larry Williams, and Country artists such as Hank Garland. Carrigan made his first recording session at age 13, as a member of Little Joe Allen and the Offbeats. In addition to drumming in local bands, Carrigan also played in marching bands throughout high school and college.
As a drummer his influences were Buddy Harman and Earl Palmer.
Carrigan began College, and while there in February 1964 he backed Tommy Roe for a live concert in Washington, D.C. as the opening act for The Beatles who were playing their first ever American Concert.[2]

Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section[edit]

Carrigan left college after two years to concentrate on his work as a session musician at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
"We laid the gorundworkfor the whole Muscle Sholas Rhythm and Blues Movement to begin" Carrigan says of himself and fellow musicians David Briggs and Norbert Putnam, who were part of the original "Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section" in the early 1960s.[3]

Although eclipsed by a later version of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section known as "The Swampers" consisting of Barry Beckett, Roger Hawkins, David Hood, Jimmy Johnson, Carrigan played on a number of hits including: Arthur Alexander's "You Better Move On" (the first R&B hit out of Muscle Shoals), followed by Jimmy Hughes' chart hit "Steal Away" and later, on numerous hits by Tommy Roe and The Tams, including "What Kind of Fool".

Nashville[edit]

Muscle Shoals had yet to become an established recording studio, while Nashville's home to top session musicians was already well established. So in 1965 Carrigan, together with Briggs and Putnam, moved there together that year and worked as a rhythm section, each intending to branch out alone.
Making the most of the Muscle Shoals contacts who preceded him in going to Nashville, Carrigan soon acquired a following among producers and artists. "The first year I was in Nashville, I did about ninety percent of the sessions that were done at RCA," he recalls. "People just put me right to work." [4] Top producers such as Felton Jarvis, Jerry Kennedy, Owen Bradley, Chet Atkins, and Billy Sherrill all hired Carrigan for record dates. He played on hits for some of the biggest country stars of the era - Charlie Rich, Ray Stevens, Charley Pride, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Johnny Paycheck, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash.

The growth of Nashville into a major recording center during the 1970s and the boom in Country Music can largely be attributed to the city's session musicians, including Jerry Carrigan. Non-Country artists began recording in Nashville and Carrigan was soon recording with artists such as Elvis Presley, Tony Joe White, Al Hirt, Johnny Mathis, Andy Williams, Tom Jones, Henry Mancini, Joan Baez, and the Boston Pops. Through his association with Grammy-winning Nashville producer Larry Butler, he worked with Sammy Davis, Jr., Don McLean, Nana Mouskouri, Kenny Rogers, Paul Anka, Bobby Vinton, Steve and Eydie, Debby Boone, Wayne Newton, and John Denver, with whom he also toured between 1981 and 1990.
Viewed as an in-demand drummer by Nashville producers, he was by 1977 playing approximately twelve three-hour sessions per week.[5]

He gained international attention while playing on a CBS show for Johnny Paycheck in London, and subsequently recorded several projects done in Nashville under the direction of Italian producer John Reverberi.

Musical Style[edit]

Carrigan is largely responsible for establishing the "big fat drum sound" associated with Nashville recordings during the 1970s. He said: "I started playing real loose, deep-sounding snare drums on country records. Billy Sherrill loved it. So I started experimenting with different things, different kinds of drums. I bought the first set of concert tom-toms that were in Nashville. I think that's one reason the producers liked my sound. I had a different approach." [6]

In February 2009 Carrigan was honored in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s ongoing Nashville Cats series, which pays tribute to veteran musicians who have proven integral to the city’s role as the home of country music and one of the world’s leading recording centers.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.bluegrassjournal.com/2009/02/02/hall-of-fame-honors-session-drummer-jerry-carrigan/
  2. ^ http://www.countrymusichalloffame.com/site/experience-museum-programs-archive-detail.aspx?cid=4004
  3. ^ http://www.alamhof.org/jerrycarrigan.html
  4. ^ http://www.alamhof.org/jerrycarrigan.html
  5. ^ http://www.alamhof.org/jerrycarrigan.html
  6. ^ http://www.alamhof.org/jerrycarrigan.html
  7. ^ http://www.nashvillescene.com/2009-02-19/arts/a-celebration-of-jerry-carrigan-at-country-music-hall-of-fame/

External links[edit]