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5 Questions with Carl Williams, bassist for Cody McCarver band
Carl Williams plays bass for the Cody McCarver band while also performing around the Gainesville area with Allen Nivens.

After leaving the band Confederate Railroad, Cody McCarver struck out on his own to make a name for himself in the music industry. Along the way, he has picked up some local talent to join his efforts.

Gainesville native Carl Williams had played the guitar from a young age and switched to bass when he heard McCarver was looking for bass player. Ever since, Williams has been traveling the country packing out shows. When he’s not playing with McCarver, he’s jamming with Allen Nivens around Hall County.

The Times caught up with Williams for a few questions about his adventures in music:

Question: How did you end up playing with Cody McCarver and what has been the best part about it thus far?

Answer: I ran into Ted Tuck who is Cody’s guitarist after mutually playing a benefit show this past spring. Ted told me that Cody’s bassist was making a career change to make time for his new family. Ted later asked me if I would be interested playing a few shows with Cody to see how it felt. He gave me two CDs to learn and told me that we would be leaving for St. Cloud, Minn., in a week and a half.

So since then I have been ruining Cody’s reputation as a great performer to every audience that we’ve played for. The whole experience has been a lot of fun and it’s hard to say what the best part is. I have been able to witness places that I would never see otherwise.

Q. How many places and parts of the country have you toured in as a band and is there somewhere you would especially like to play?

A. The most unique place I’ve played was Love Valley, N.C., which is modeled after the old Western towns. People even came to the show on horseback and by the end of the night there were hundreds of horses tied up along the street. It was different, for sure.

So far with this band I have played in Minnesota, Illinois, Kentucky, West Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Oklahoma and Missouri. I would especially love to play the reconstructed Georgia Theater in Athens. I played there once with Allen (Nivens) and the guys opening up for Eric Church about two months before it burned. So many great bands have played there.

Q. How would you best describe the genre of music you guys play and are there plans for future albums?

A. Cody’s music would most easily be described as “outlaw country.” I would say Johnny Cash or Waylon Jennings mixed with rock. It is great music and a unique style. Like most acts, we play a handful of covers throughout the shows but I definitely prefer his originals. I can be that complimentary because I didn’t have a hand in writing or recording any of his stuff!

He recently cut his second album called “I Just Might Live Forever” which debuted this past summer and was recently made available on iTunes. It is a very solid record and has had three No. 1 songs so far. He parted with Confederate Railroad only a few years ago to pursue his solo career and has been building steam ever since, so I expect you will hear plenty more from him in the future.

Q. You also play with Allen Nivens. How do you juggle both bands and does either one spill over into the other as far as your playing goes?

A. It has yet to be a problem playing with Allen and the guys to this date. We all have children and full-time jobs so we are all accustomed to working around busy schedules. The goal of this band is and has always been to have fun. This week, I leave for Illinois for shows on Friday and Saturday and then head home to play a show on Sunday (Dec. 23) with Allen ... here in Gainesville. I may be a little tired but definitely look forward to it.

Q. If there was one thing you could change about the current music industry, what would it be? What’s wrong with the music industry today?

A. It’s totally broken. It is way too hard to break into and get any radio play unless you fit into a narrow category decided on by a few record execs. Instead, listeners should be able to decide if they want to listen to an artist.

It would be great if radio stations would be more open to taking chances on independent artists. There is a ton of great music out there that will never be heard. This industry has killed the diversity and creativity that we used to love. Auto-tune is also a terrible thing (thanks, Cher). Everyone is using that now.

Q. What are Carl Williams’ plans for the future? Music? Family?

A. It’s hard to say. To this point, nothing in my life has gone as planned. I never planned on playing with a touring act, you know? It just happened. I was just in the right place at the right time.

On a personal level, I have a wonderful 3-year-old daughter that I can’t stand to be away from. I will say that no matter what happens in the future, music is my outlet and I will always be drawn to it in one way or another.

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