Comprised of Dale Jett, his wife, Teresa, and life-long friend, Oscar Harris, the music of Hello Stranger is a combination of Jett's musical heritage and the band's love and appreciation of all musical genres.
Dale Jett and his band, Hello Stranger, are continuing the legacy of A.P. and Sara Carter in a way that would make his grandparents proud.
Comprised of Dale Jett, his wife, Teresa, and life-long friend, Oscar Harris, the music of Hello Stranger is a combination of Jett’s musical heritage and the band’s love and appreciation of all musical genres to produce a truly unique style. Dale’s voice is often described as "powerful and compelling," yet at the same time, "delicate and haunting."
Like his grandfather, A.P. Carter, Dale is also a song collector, and fans will be pleased to know Hello Stranger is set to release a new Civil War-themed CD within the next few weeks. "When the Sun Comes Out Again" is an eclectic mix of traditional songs, including two Carter Family songs, plus new songs Dale co-wrote with Tom T. Hall, a Robin and Linda Williams tune, and one written by a local song writer, Bradley Smith.
"Dale has always been interested in the Civil War era, and it was his idea to produce a CD based on that theme," Teresa said. The CD has been "years" in the making, the band joked.
"There is this thing called life that always gets in the way of making music," Oscar laughed.
"When the Sun Comes Out Again" was recorded in Nashville, with the assistance of Tom T. and Dixie Hall. Over the span of a year and a half, the band made three trips to Nashville to record the CD. Dale, however, had been gathering material for years.
Although the trio has known each other for years, Hello Stranger has only been an official band for about six years. As a member of the Carter family, Dale grew up around music but was never "forced" to participate. He learned to play the guitar in his late teens when Elizabeth Cotton taught him a few chords, "left-handed and upside down."
Oscar, on the other hand, has been playing for 48 years, starting when he was 12. During his teen years, Oscar was a popular musician around Gate City, Va. His band, the Changing Tymes, served as the house band for Club Moss, a popular teenage nightclub in Gate City. "On most any given weekend night, you could find 300 to 500 kids at Club Moss," Dale said.
The Club was open to teens age 13 to 18.
"I guess you could call us the primitive Teen Center of our times," Oscar joked. To keep the music fresh, Changing Tymes would alternate with other bands throughout the South.
Teresa is the newest musician to the group, and has only been playing bass for the last seven years. She started playing at the Carter Fold just to help out Dale’s mother, Janette Carter, when her health started to decline.
"While Janette was alive, I always worked at the Fold running the sound system," Teresa said. "Dale taught me a few chords on the bass, and he started helping me and playing with me. Then I started playing with Janette and, after she died, I just kept playing."
Neither Dale, Oscar nor Teresa have had any formal musical training.
"None of us can read music. We all play by ear," Oscar said.
"Most traditional musicians picked up their music sitting on the porch playing with friends and family. I would say 90 percent of traditional musicians don’t read a note of music," Dale added.
Both Teresa and Oscar agree Dale Jett is what defines their band.
"He is the essence of the Carter family... he is carrying on their legacy."
Continuing the Carter family legacy has taken Hello Stranger many places, including the Grand Ole Opry, the Marty Stuart Show, Mountain Stage and all over the country. While their music is popular with Carter Family fans around the world, one of their biggest audiences is in Japan.
Dale plays guitar, autoharp and banjitar, a cross between a guitar and banjo. Teresa is sticking with the bass for now. Oscar plays autoharp, mandolin, guitar and harmonica. All three lend vocals to the band.
Oscar has reached the point in life where he can turn his attention to being a professional musician. He retired last year and spends a lot of time playing. Teresa laughed that "she and Dale hope they live long enough to realize that dream." Dale added he "is still trying to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up."
For Dale, the best part about being a musician is the people he meets.
"When you play music, you get to meet and interact with a lot of different people. I’ve met some great folks, and playing has opened doors to make new friends. Guess that is the one thing I have always loved about music."
Oscar finds playing music to a spiritual experience at times.
"Music has always taken me somewhere I have not been able to get through other means," he said.
Music has helped Teresa grow as a person.
"I’m living proof that you are never too old to learn," she said. As a relatively new musician, Teresa said the bond developed within the band has helped her to continue playing and get better.
Hello Stranger will be performing on local stages in May. To purchase the new CD, "When the Sun Comes Out Again," or the DVD documentary about Dale Jett, "When the Sun Comes Out Again - the Dale Jett Story," visit the website at www.dalejett.com.comments powered by Disqus