Fiddler Carson Peters makes waves on The Voice

Carson Peters, known for his fancy fiddling with the band, Iron Mountain, is making a name for himself on the international television talent contest, NBC’s The Voice, for his singing skills.

On the September 27 airing, the 17-year-old wowed all four judges during The Voice’s 21st season blind auditions. Carson’s rendition of Don Williams’ Tulsa Time caught judge John Legend’s attention first. After turning his chair (indicating Legend wanted to coach the Piney Flats, TN, native), the other three judges followed suit. Blake Shelton, Ariana Grande, and Kelly Clarkson all wanted young Peters on their team. Each judge made a case for mentoring the high school senior. After serious deliberation, Carson selected Shelton who made a strong argument for understanding bluegrass/classic country versus modern country genre.

As he advances to the Battle Rounds (where he competes against a team mate in the same genre), Carson praised his vocal coach. “Blake is a very genuine guy. He’s really down to earth. He sat down and worked with us, giving us feedback. He helped me with (the idea of) bringing classic country back.”

The young East Tennessee fiddle prodigy (who played the Grand Ole Opry when he was 10 years old with Ricky Skaggs) had considered auditioning for a television talent show. While stuck at home during the pandemic, it seemed like the right time. 

“At the first of the year, I auditioned on-line. You schedule an appointment, log-in on an app, and a camera comes on. You do a minute long version (of your song). I signed up on the last day. So I think that was a God thing. It was a blessing in disguise.”

After singing Morgan Wallen’s Cover Me Up, Carson was eventually selected for the televised talent competition. In May, he and his mom flew to Los Angeles. The youthful performer had previously been to the city of Angels for two other television appearances, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 2014, and Little Big Shots with Steve Harvey in 2018.

All the competition (except for the upcoming live performances) was pre-recorded in California during the summer. Sworn to secrecy about the outcome, Carson did give a small hint of what is yet to come.

“The fiddle may come out in the future,” he teased.

Whether it comes out on The Voice or not, Carson Peters continues to drag the bow with his bluegrass band, Iron Mountain. His band mates sing his praises.

Eric Marshall, Iron Mountain’s banjoist, said, “Carson has always amazed me at his ability to hear things in a song that most people miss. A run or a singing part or a single note that most people never realize was there. He has a great ear.”

Bassist, Ben Marshall (Eric’s son), agreed. “Carson is a very adaptive and tasteful fiddle player, definitely one of the best!”

Carson is appreciative. “Our shows have picked back up. We’re excited to play again. I’ve missed it. It’s a big bonding thing with my dad (who picks guitar with the band).”

Jamie Peters, Carson’s father, is grateful for time spent with his offspring. “I have been so blessed to get to play music and share the stage with my son for over 13 years. It has truly been a highlight of my life. God has truly blessed Carson with amazing musical talents and he was so very fortunate to discover those talents really early in his life.”

Carson is pleased to return to performing. “We’ve got a lot of bookings, including a couple of trips to Canada, and all across the southeast. We also hope to get back in the studio (to record). We have several new original songs.”

While attending classes, playing on the golf team, and performing live shows, Carson is weighing options for his future.

“It will definitely be something in music,” he stated assuredly.

His dad reflected, “God has put so many great people and influences in his life to help him, and also has blessed him with tremendous opportunities, including his most recent participation on NBC’s The Voice.”

In the meantime, the fiddle-playing-singer stressed, “Make sure everybody keeps watching The Voice. You might see somebody you know!”

Carson received words of encouragement from Skaggs, one of his biggest influences. Will it be bluegrass or classic country? What path does the young musician want to take?

“It’ll be a little bit of both. I want to bring them back together,” Carson concluded.

His dad remains supportive. “I cannot wait to see where his journey takes him. I have a feeling it is just now really getting started. I am most proud of Carson, though, not for what he can do musically, but for whom he has become – a fine, Christian young man.”

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About the Author

Sandy Hatley

Sandy Chrisco Hatley is a free lance writer for several NC newspapers and Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. As a teenager, she picked banjo with an all girl band called the Happy Hollow String Band. Today, she plays dobro with her husband's band, the Hatley Family.