The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

December 25, 2012

Local butcher is talented musician

By Mary Catherine Brooks
Wyoming County Bureau Chief

— For more than two decades, Roger Carter has been well known to customers of Wayne’s Galaxy Supermarket, in Mullens, as its butcher. In the last five years, he’s also become known as a singer to area audiences. His new CD, “The Singing Butcher,” pays tribute to both careers.

Carter always believed he could sing and that it would be easy — that is until he tried to sing during a family event several years ago.

“I didn’t do very good,” he recalled with a laugh. “The more I sang, the drier my mouth got.”

He was determined, however, to become a performer.

Carter began working with members of the Bluegrass Cross Ties, practicing once or twice a week.

After several months, the band members talked him into performing during open mic night at the Mullens Opportunity Center. When he finished the song, he got a standing ovation.

“That put gas on the fire,” he said.

Eventually, he lost his bashfulness and became “addicted to music,” he said.

“Music is addictive, but it is the best addiction you can have,” Carter emphasized.

He continued perfecting his craft and became interested in writing his own music.

“When I Win” is his first song. It tells the story of winning the lottery and how many friends that might bring. It is on the CD, along with three others he penned. The CD also includes country classics such as “White Dove” and “Okie From Muskogee.”

“You have to get in the zone to write,” Carter explained. “Your mind has to be in a different setting.”

Several well-known musicians played on the CD, including Russ Hicks, who has worked with Charlie McCoy, Jerry Lee Lewis, Charlie Daniels, Kitty Wells, among others, and Dan Bailey, who plays with Taylor Made.

Carter, however, wasn’t in the studio at the same time.

“Recording is not fun. I had no audience. I was alone when I recorded the songs,” he explained. “My strong point is performing with an audience.”

 Carter is a graduate of Shady Spring High School and Beckley College. He was a meat manager for A&P before coming to Wayne’s Supermarket.

“I’ve worked all my life,” he said. “I started working when I was 12 years old at a produce stand.”

Completing the CD took a few years and Carter emphasized he couldn’t have done it without the support of his wife, Nancy.

“I have a wonderful family,” he emphasized.

“This is the goal I pursued. I would advise everybody to reach for the stars, because maybe they might touch one of them.

“I didn’t get started until I was 60.”

Carter still has goals to pursue.

“I want to write a No. 1 country song and I want to perform at the Ryman Auditorium.”

The CD is available at Wayne’s Galaxy Supermarket in Mullens, Padrino’s in Beaver, Bub’s Cycle Shop in Beckley, Chase’s Exxon in Daniels, and from Carter.

— E-mail: mcbrooks@register-herald.com