Southern gospel singer Ruby Carter will be next to perform in this week’s Concert in the Park series at noon Friday at Veterans Memorial Park.
This is the debut performance for Carter, who lives in the West Berrien community and works in Tifton. She said she grew up in a family of singers and musicians.
“My mother’s family, the Halls, in Brookfield were all musically talented,” she said, noting that her uncles played instruments and her aunt sang at local churches. “Tifton has been what we call our home.”
Carter said when she was a teenager, her Uncle Big Jim Hall, and his friend, Little Bill Martin, had a radio program in Tifton years ago that aired every Saturday. She said at a young age, she remembers going to her Uncle Jim’s house in Enigma and sitting on the floor with her other young family members to listen to musicians in the area come to play from night time to “the wee hours of the morning.”
Carter said the same would happen when she visited her Aunt Rosie’s house in Alamo. She said friends and musicians would come over and sing and play until late at night.
Carter said she remembers going to her Aunt Bertha’s house in Lenox and listening to gospel records on the original Chuck Wagon Gang. She said she has always grown up listening to gospel music. She said her background is why she loves music.
“It’s in your blood,” Carter said. “I may not have the talent like the rest of them, but I have the desire.”
Although, she grew up in a family of musicians and singers, she said she didn’t think about singing in front of people until one day at church when the late S.J. Walker suggested that she sing a song at church. The first song she sang publicly at her hometown church was “One Day At A Time.” She was in her 30s. This led to her singing with the quartet group, “Happy Times,” from Alapaha, which she was a part of for several years.
“I loved it,” Carter said.
She said after leaving the group, she and her husband, Randall, started their own group, “The Gospel Travelers.” There were nine members — Carter and Randall, singers; Berry and Cindy Brunty, singers; Sammy and Thelma Clark, lead guitarist and sound board; Latrelle Crosby, piano; and Coop and Merle Cooper, drums and bass guitar.
Carter said they went to Big Stone Gap, Va. and recorded a cassette tape. She noted that they purchased a Silver Eagle bus. She said they performed in surrounding areas and had the opportunity to sing with the southern gospel group Naomi and The Segos in Enigma. Also, she said The Singing Cookes from Kingsport, Tenn. were guests at their anniversary sing. She noted that the group also stayed at her home while visiting.
Carter said after her son, Regan Carter, 16, was killed in an automobile accident (he played bass guitar with “Happy Times”) and fellow band member Sammy died with heart conditions, as well as Crosby having to leave the band due to her taking a night job that interfered with their practices and booking, the group decided to pack up their equipment and call it quits for a while.
Carter said for several years, she would only sing at her church, and during that time, she felt that she wasn’t doing what God wanted her to do. She said after a while, she decided to go solo, and within the last year, she decided to branch out and sing at other local churches. She said she has received great support from her husband.
As a solo singer, Carter said she has performed at Fall Southeastern Cushman Scooter Club meet in Hiawassee in September 2012. She has also performed at the Historical Society and Syrup Sopping Festival in Loachapoka, Ala. in October 2012 and recently at the spring Cushman Club meet in Cochran in March.
“My desire is to share my love of God through songs,” Carter said. “He’s been so good to me, and I praise and thank Him every day for His blessings on me.”
She said music is a passion, and she keeps God first. She said she had never had any voice lessons until one day she decided to go to a voice teacher. After two or three lessons, she quit because a good Christian friend told her to not take any lessons and to sing from her heart.
“I trusted her and quit the voice lessons,” Carter said. “I just sing the way I feel it.”
Attendees to Friday’s concert can expect to hear her sing southern gospel songs “I’ll Take Jesus” by Dixie Echoes, “My Home” by Heirline and others.
Carter said she’s excited about singing Friday. She said she hopes that her performance will open up many doors for her.
The free concerts are sponsored by The Tifton Gazette and Main Street Tifton. They will continue through late May. People are encouraged to bring lunches and a lawn chair or blanket to the concert.
To contact reporter Latasha Everson, call 382-4321.