Garland Carter, bass player with Summer Wages in the 1980s, passed away last week. He is thought to have died in his home near Martinsville, VA on Thursday (6/24), but was not found until Saturday afternoon.
Summer Wages was very popular in the Southeast, and traveled all across the US from 1981 to ’87, with 3 albums on Rebel Records. The band featured Barry Berrier on guitar and lead vocals, his brother Kenneth Berrier on resonator guitar, Rick Allred on mandolin, Craig Smith on banjo, and Carter on bass.
Garland also worked briefly with The Bluegrass Cardinals after the demise of Summer Wages, but had not appeared professionally again in bluegrass since that time, working instead in flooring and auto sales. A Summer Wages reunion album was in the works a few years back, but was short circuited when Carter was in a serious auto accident that required a significant recovery time.
Arrangements will be handled by Bassett Funeral Services, but no information is yet available.
Summer Wages was known particularly for their tight, country-flavored vocal harmonies, in which Carter contributed as the baritone singer. Barry Berrier came to national attention with this group, and went on to memorable stints with Lost and Found and Lonesome River Band after the dissolution of Summer Wages.
Allred had been a member of Country Gentlemen before joining up, and has continued to perform regionally. Kenneth Berrier and his wife Linda host the Local Grass radio show, which spotlights talented bluegrass acts which do not tour on a large scale. Craig Smith has recorded and toured sporadically with Laurie Lewis, and is an in-demand guitar and banjo instructor near Greensboro, NC.
Jim Mills joined Summer Wages towards the end of their tenure on Rebel, and appeared on their final release, Can’t Stop Now. All three albums are available in iTunes.
Here’s a video that includes snippets of several songs from a show in 1983.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1H2SQXoqtQ
RIP Garland Carter.