Meet the Band: Chris Carpenter (vocals, guitar), John Mattick (keyboards)
A Student of Music: Carpenter says he's "grown up" with music. "The bug bit me before I was old enough to remember," he says. He first took piano lessons and then started playing guitar, eventually drifting into a few garage rock bands that played everything from Dave Matthews to Alice in Chains. He originally didn't think he would attend college but eventually enrolled at the Belmont University music program. "My songwriting really got better and I finally started writing some songs that were the beginning of what this is now," he says. He's released four CDs, and VH1.com, CMT.com and MTV.com have played his music videos; his songs have been featured in The Young and the Restless, Men of a Certain Age and a Kraft Foods commercial. He's performed on 43 regional TV shows all over the U.S. and Canada.
Songwriter Rock: Carpenter uses the term "songwriter rock" to describe his music. "I coined that phrase not long ago," he says. "It's very pop-oriented. I know I'm a little bit of the love song guy. Pop is just so broad. Everything could be considered pop these days. Mine has a little dirt on the tires. It's the diet soda of rock."
Why You Should Hear Him: "Paralyzed," a song from his second record, is a brittle pop ballad about falling madly in love. "A lot of that record is me coming to grips with taking leaps of faith as I was moving from Kentucky to Nashville," he says. "I was getting married so I was wondering if I could do that. It was about being happy and having more light-heartedness about being in love. I definitely married up." He also dabbles in more traditional country music with songs such as "One and Only." "A touch of my music has some country in it," he says. "I joke about it all the time. My producer will tell me, 'You can hide it all you want, but you're country.'"
Where You Can Hear Him: chriscarpentermusic.com.
Where You Can See Him: Carpenter performs with Northern Whale at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 10; at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 11, at Wilbert's; and at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 12, at the Cleveland Renaissance Hotel.