His first album, 2007’s Waitin’ in the Country, debuted at #1 on the country music charts, and a hit single from that release, Alyssa Lies, could almost be thought of as an anthem for today’s #MeToo movement.
But by 2011, despite those successes, Jason Michael Carroll found himself at a creative impasse with Arista, his recording label. He subsequently chose to become one of the many artists who in recent years have decided to reject the ever-increasing commercial and artistic demands of mainstream labels in favor of artistic integrity.
Accepting the challenge of going forward as an independent artist, when Carroll was ready to record and release a new album in 2014, like so many musicians today (including some of the most seasoned), he turned to his loyal fan base for support.
Carroll launched a Kickstarter campaign to finance the production of a new album – his fourth overall. He blew past his goal of raising $40,000, bringing in $70,000 from fans eager for new material. The result was 2015’s What Color Is Your Sky?, which despite the lack of industry validation, climbed to #37 on the country music charts.
In an interview with country music website theboot.com, Carroll said of the experience: “There is no doubt in my mind or my fans’ minds that this record, my music, can stand with all of the music being pushed by major labels, but without their bank, we have to work harder. I’m okay with that.”
Fans in Hampton Roads will get a chance to hear the fruit of that effort on March 9 when Carroll brings his brand of country music to the area for a family-friendly concert at the Norva to benefit the Rose and Womble Foundation.
Informally launched 26 years ago, the foundation began when a core group of employees, agents and brokers with real estate firm Rose and Womble wanted to do something to give back to their community. That year, they assembled 25 Thanksgiving meals for local families who had fallen on hard times and needed help. Now known as the “Turkey Brigade,” they fed 2,586 local families a complete Thanksgiving meal in 2017, and hope to reach a goal of 3,000 this year.
“It is extremely rewarding when you go to someone’s home to deliver their Thanksgiving meal to them as you see the conditions they live in,” said the foundation’s program coordinator Jessica Bailey.
“I have seen floors with holes in them and you can see the dirt below the house. I have seen homes where families live that landlords have not taken care of the house in years and they are badly in need of roof repairs, window repairs, siding repairs, structural repairs, etc. It breaks my heart to see someone struggle. When they hug you and tear up because they are receiving a Thanksgiving meal it melts my heart,” she said.
Besides running the Turkey Brigade, Bailey said: “We have given the funds raised to our local Gold Star Mothers, local Salvation Army, local Meals on Wheels, Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad, HR House for Heroes, the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, Portsmouth Police Dept’s Christmas Initiative, and college scholarships for local high school students, to name a few.”
According to Bailey, the foundation doesn’t have a paid staff, with all it’s work performed by volunteers, and that 97.5% of funds raised by the foundation go directly into their programs and the community.
“Jason has generously donated his time to support our foundation,” Bailey said. “We couldn’t be happier.”
The son of a fire-and-brimstone Baptist preacher, Jason Michael Carroll was raised in Youngsville, North Carolina in a strict household in which only gospel music was tolerated. Carroll’s secret hobby of listening to secular music cassettes which were stashed under his mattress (he has said his father once went so far as to spank him when he found a copy of Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Achy Breaky Heart” in his bedroom) undoubtedly inspired him to become a singer/songwriter.
Despite a career that’s had a fair share of ups and downs, in a 2013 interview with the Lynchburg News and Advance, Carroll said: “Whether we’re going to be a big household name or whatever, as long as people are wanting to hear us play, we’re going to be out there doing it.”
Carroll will meet with fans and sign autographs after the show.
Jason Michael Carroll (with special guests Mason, Fitch and Co.) | Benefiting the Rose & Womble Foundation.
March 9, 2018 | 6:30PM | The Norva
Ticket price: $22 ($25 including service fees)
About the Sponsor of this Post:
Rose & Womble Realty Co. was born and bred in Hampton Roads – our owners live and work here in the Seven Cities. We are a family-owned and operated business – with multiple generations working at all levels, from agents to managers.The leadership within the company is LOCAL – not out of state – but right here in Hampton Roads.