Carla Jo Carr

Riceville, TN is the home of Grammy-nominated singer / songwriter Carla Jo Carr, one of the most talented female artist in music. Carla Jo has a solid sound with a powerful voice and a sincere genuine desire for her music and concert appearances.


Carla Jo Carr       


Carla Jo Carr an Inspiration to Small-Town Dreamers Far and Wide


An English novelist, George Eliot, once said “It is never too late to be what you might have been,” and this is certainly true of Carla Jo Carr.  Carla Jo has traveled a long and winding road in her singing career. 

She began singing at the age of 13 and continued chasing her dream to the age of 21, where she pulled over to begin a family.  She didn’t start singing again until she was in her mid-twenties, and decided it would be an easier hobby for her rather than a career.  Now, she has decided this is far more than a hobby to her and she is ready to chase her dreams again.  She truly believes that the sky is the limit and that it really is ‘never too late.’

            When Carla Jo was 13 years old she sang in a band called the Country Express.  The band was well known locally and traveled Tennessee, and the Southern U.S. entertaining audiences in a wide variety of venues.  Having come from a musically inclined family, starting a band was easy for her.  Band members included her father, brother, and other close friends her father made when he was singing professionally with a well-known southern gospel group.

            During her later years with The Country Express, which played shows regularly from 1977 until 1983, Carla Jo became active in pageantry.  In 1981 she played her hand in the Tennessee Teen pageant.  She won the talent competition.  The next year she entered the pageant again, this time she not only won the talent competition, but also took the crown.

            Winning this pageant allowed Carla Jo to travel the country like she never had before.  She met many people and made a lot of close friends.  She went on to win the talent category in the National Teen Miss pageant, and she ended up taking the national crown as well. 

Windows and doors began to swing wide open for Carla Jo.  During the next year Carla Jo entertained many at a number of venues such as Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth, the International Special Olympics in Baton Rouge, the National Leadership Conference in Chicago, a couple of celebrity golf tournaments, Winner of Televised "You Can Be A Star" Nashville TN, also Carla Jo  appeared as quest on the Ralph Enery Show. 

Needless to say, the busy pageant schedule put The Country Express on hold, but when it came time to pass the crown to the next dreamer, Carla Jo decided to keep on pursuing her own dreams.  In 1984 she recorded her first album, A Country Girl’s Dream.

Carla Jo continued doing what she was doing.  Playing at many venues and charity events and fronted several area bands including Smokey Jam, The Country Sounds, and Crosstown Traffic. 

Though she was certainly pursuing her dreams and watching door after door open up for her, she wanted what every women wants, a family.  In 1984 she married and soon after had two sons.

During the time she was raising her family, she sang off and on, but more so in her childhood roots: gospel music.  In 1997, when her kids were a bit older she decided to try giving professional gospel music a go.

As with most things she is involved in, musically, she excelled.  She recorded a few different projects under a major Nashville label.  She had a song that went to #5 on the Country Gospel Music Group charts and later had an album nominated for a Grammy.

Since her children were at an age where they were becoming more involved in extracurricular activities, she decided that she wasn’t finished raising them and decided to take a break and continue singing as a hobby. 

Carla Jo began singing with small local gospel groups and for community events upon request, but mostly kept her focus on her family.  Soon enough, her kids were grown and she still hadn’t lost her dream.

In early 2008 she started small.  She was singing at local charity events and began to get similar recognition she did in earlier years.  She had old fans of The Country Express saying that they remembered her from all those years ago.

Carla Jo is pursuing her dreams again.  One can clearly see she is a woman who knows what she wants and has been blessed with opportunities that many will never see.  These opportunities have allowed her to sing with musical acts such as   Grand Ole Opry, Roy Clark, Oak Ridge Boys, Lynn Anderson,   Dickens, Dale Reeves, Lee Greenwood, Ronnie McDowell, Con Hunley, Jack Green, Chet Atkins, Gold City, Jeff Steel, Perry Sisters, Heirline, Michael Combs, and, more recently, Confederate Railroad.  She is living proof that it really is never too late, even for those who prioritize their families before themselves.  Carla Jo is truly an inspiration to small-town dreamers far and wide.




Carla Jo Carr: Full Circle

Carla Jo Carr