If you are not familiar with the name T.C. Carr it’s not surprising. He’s been a Tampa Bay treasure for a long time, but has not really got the national attention he deserves.
Perhaps like many great local blues musicians, he is a star in his local area, but never was able to reach beyond and get heard by the larger world. There’s no doubt that he is good enough. He may be one of the top 5 blues harp players in the country. And he sings with world-class chops. And some of the songs he has written deserve to be heard nationally too.
So it’s no wonder that after years of effort, he kind of “burned out” back in the early 2000’s and seemed to disappear from even the local scene. It’s hard to keep knocking your head against the wall and never get the recognition you hope for.
That could be just this one fan’s view of what happened. I followed him closely throughout the 90’s with his band The Catch, and owned the two albums he put out during that time (learn more about him on his website here). All I saw was he disappeared from the local radar and seemed to stop playing. Perhaps I will get a chance to talk with him sometime and find out what really happened.
Thankfully T.C. Carr seems to be back. He started playing around a little more often about a year ago, quietly at first, usually sitting in with other local bands and occasionally doing a gig under his own name.
Now he seems to be reaching out and playing more. He played Skipper’s Smokehouse recently, does a “jam” a couple of times per month at The Hideaway in St. Petersburg (video here), and recently did a show at the beautiful Palladium Sidedoor in St. Petersburg, one of the best listening rooms in Tampa Bay. Thankfully he is getting out there more often.
Perhaps this is partly due to his recent “accident” where he almost lost his life. I won’t go into the details now, but you can read more about it here.
And T.C. would want me to tell you that most of these gigs are not with a regular band. He picks up some great local players, does a few rehearsals, and wings it out there. For his Palladium gig he used local guitar gods Josh Nelms and Ed Wright and picked up Betty Fox’s rhythm section, Matt Walker and Sam Farmer to fill in. This is far from a fully-rehearsed and seasoned band, but you would be hard-pressed to tell by watching this video.
Of course, T.C. might not agree. But judging by the reaction of the crowd at the show, there was little more that could have been added to make it better. But you be the judge.
I got video for the full night (over 2 hours), and the sound is superb and the video “not bad” for a not very well lit venue. I hope you find it half as enjoyable as myself and the crowd did that night.