Keith Carrington serves up ‘true Americana’ in ‘Unconditionally’

Growing up between Nashville, Memphis and Jackson, Tennessee, Keith was raised on the soulful sounds of Buck Owens, Elvis Presley,and Johnny Cash. As he grew older, rock and roll kicked in from influences like Pink Floyd, Neil Young, Boston, Foreigner, and Aerosmith. And today it’s Tim McGraw, Chris Stapleton, Ed Sheeran to Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Philharmonic… Oh and don’t worry, he loves the lady artists also like Dolly Pardon, Nora Jones, and who could’t love some ALISON KRAUSS. “There are so many beautiful talented artists. Wouldn’t it be cool if we could hear them all?!”
It was a small town life. Friday nights meant high school football games. Saturday evenings meant gospel singing at church. Sunday’s meant church, tag football with childhood friends, and most generally a family dinner at Grandma Carrington’s.
“I grew up between blues, rockabilly and country,” Keith says. “My music can’t help but reflect all of that.”

Early dreams of a musical career were put on hold amidst family turmoil. Keith turned to the guitar for solace later in life, teaching himself to play, handpick and sing while going through a divorce.

“It just kept bubbling out. It was very therapeutic,” Keith explains. “Many nights I just fall asleep with the guitar in my arms.”

Several years ago, Keith moved to California to follow a new path in life, including singing and performing his music in front of live audiences. Landing in the seaside community of Pacific Palisades, which he calls his “new hometown,” he traded beer for wine and absorbed new cultural influences.
Positive feedback and encouragement made him realize that his personal passion for music could be “so much more,” and he eventually headed to the recording studio to fulfill a long-forgotten dream.
Decades in the making, Keith’s debut album “Unconditionally” - A heartfelt meditation on the ups, downs and arounds of relationships. Listen.

A Christmas story.

When Keith was five, he ripped open red wrapping paper on Christmas morning. Beaming in his blue suit, he held up a small guitar.
“It was only a cheap electric toy, but I loved it,” Keith recalls. With his dad’s Buck Owens records cranked up at full volume, “I’d pretend I was Buck Owens and sing and dance and play.”
Then Keith’s parents divorced. His mom was in a near-fatal car crash. His father was diagnosed with multiple brain tumors and for years did not even know who Keith was. A child’s guitar dreams couldn’t compete with real life hardships.
“I wasn’t concerned about learning to play music or getting guitar lessons. I was just trying to cope with what my parents were going through.”
Decades later – after Keith served in the military, was married with two kids and running a clothing store in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee – a customer came in with a guitar he wanted to get rid of. Keith just so happened to have a leather jacket he wanted to get rid of. They traded. It felt just like Christmas morning all over again.
When adversity struck again, this time in the form of a divorce, Keith didn’t put down the guitar. Instead, he turned to it as a friend.
Though painstaking and difficult, Keith taught himself basic chord progressions and fingerpicking. “A lot of bad techniques,” he jokes. He drew inspiration and strength from the country western greats that loomed over his youth, as well as modern icons across all genres.
He poured his pent-up romantic pain, disappointment, hope, triumph, new beginnings – the full spectrum of love and relationships – into songs that would later become the foundation for his first studio album, “Unconditionally.”
After so many years, Keith was finally able to chase the dream his younger self was forced to abandon. Everything was clear as Christmas morning.
“Five-year-old Keith would probably say, ‘What took you so dang long? Where the heck have you been?”
“But I’m here now. We are here.”