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Local guitarist Tuck goes from rockabilly to country outlaw
Cody McCarver band to perform Friday in Gainesville
Cody McCarver brings his band to town, featuring Gainesville native Ted Tuck on guitar, for a show Friday at Wild Wing Cafe in Gainesville.

Cody McCarver Live

When: 10 p.m. March 16; Alex Hall opens at 9 p.m.

Where: Wild Wing Café, 311 Jesse Jewell Parkway, Gainesville

How much: No cover charge

More info: 770-536-9177

Many who follow the Gainesville music scene will recognize front man and guitar extraordinaire Ted Tuck from King Daddy Polecats, among other bands, belting out old rockabilly and Johnny Cash tunes.

But Tuck has a new gig. He recently began performing with Cody McCarver, the former Confederate Railroad star, and his new band.

The two teamed up a few months ago when McCarver's guitarist suddenly gave up his role in the band, leaving little time to fill the spot.

Jody Jackson, executive director of the Gainesville-based John Jarrard Foundation, connected the two musicians with his Gainesville and Nashville connections.

"I work with the John Jarrard Foundation and Jody Jackson ... he knows Cody personally and Cody called him looking for a guitarist. And Jody recommended me to play, I performed with them and I got the job," Tuck said. "Right now it's been great. We've been going out every couple weeks or so."

Tuck has toured in Georgia, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Illinois and Nashville, Tenn. with the band. Music lovers in Gainesville will be able to get a free peek at Tuck's new gig on Friday night at Wild Wing Café. Tuck asked the band members to play in his hometown and they accepted.

"I play with some really great guys and they are top-notch musicians ... that really makes a huge difference when you are performing. Bands are like families, and it's nice when everyone gets along," he said.

The feeling is mutual according to McCarver.

"I needed a guitar player in a desperate way and had to go out with David Allen Coe on Jan. 27. I got the notice Jan. 22 that I didn't have a guitar player," said McCarver. "When I first talked to Ted and I heard that he played the style of guitar that I needed ... then he told me that he graduated from Berklee (College of Music) and I said ‘he's too good for us.'

"He came in and fit like a glove and everything has been great. After we went to Minnesota, Iowa, two shows in Oklahoma and we came off the stage in Oklahoma and got a standing ovation. ... I told him ‘if you want to stick with us, we'll stick with you.'"

Like Tuck, McCarver has deep Southern roots. He was born and raised in Dunlap, Tenn., near Chattanooga, where his musical career began at age 9 playing piano in a small church. He played 12 years in the multiplatinum-selling band Confederate Railroad and decided to set out on his own in August 2010.

He went to Capitol Studios in Hollywood, Calif., and recorded his first solo CD, simply titled "Cody McCarver." McCarver's first single, "Red Flag," landed him a Top 25 single and a No. 1 video for 12 consecutive weeks on CMT Pure and Music Row Magazine's Independent Artist of the year.

McCarver also has had recent success on the silver screen, starring alongside Michael Madsen ("Reservoir Dogs," "Kill Bill 1 & 2," "Thelma & Louise," "Free Willy") in the western, "Cole Younger & the Black Train," playing the role of Younger. The movie is due out from Lions Gate Films in April. He also wrote and recorded the title song for the film, "Outlaws & Trains."

"It's not all my music but some of it is ... when the credits roll and that song plays periodically throughout the movie," he said. "I play Cole Younger and he's part of the Jesse James gang. It's a pretty cool story and I feel like I wrote the perfect song for it."

McCarver's second single, "Through Gods Eyes," propelled him to be named Music Rows Independent Artist of the year. "Through Gods Eyes" led McCarver to be a National Celebrity Spokesperson for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America. McCarver works with children whose parents are in prison.

"The best way I know to describe it is it is a song about hypocrisy," said McCarver, who said the song was inspired by his father, who is in prison, and his young daughter.

"I wrote the first verse real quick about Bill and Dahlia, my mom and dad. That is a true story. My dad is in prison serving a life sentence for first degree murder. The second verse is about my dad and the third verse is about me. Just because I'm a hillbilly guitar picker doesn't mean I'm any different in God's eyes than anyone else."

The next single, "White Trash with Money," was No. 1 on CMT Pure.

"It's a tongue-in-cheek thing. I am that guy," he said. "Once again, appearances don't mean much."

The show Friday night will feature all of McCarver's singles, along with some old favorites.

"It's going to be Cody's show with ‘Outlaw Country' and he'll throw in some Waylon (Jennings), some David Allen Coe and of course do his original material. He has three singles on the radio," Tuck said.

Tuck will be back on the Gainesville music scene from time to time, playing with King Daddy Polecats and other popular Gainesville groups.