by Calvin Terrell
(excerpted from the February 2009 issue of Sister 2 Sister magazine)
How dare he? Kurt Carr put me on blast during our last conversation. The pint-sized (I’m one to talk, right?) singer teased me because he said I played him several times. He said he ran into me at different events and I was so busy chasing others—like The Clark Sisters—that I didn’t have time for him. “Uhh, yeah! That would be me,” I teased. But Kurt admitted how much he loves them too, so he couldn’t blame me. He is crazy about Twinkie! He told me, “Oh, Twinkie, when she sees me coming, she runs away and says, ‘Oh no, get that little crazy guy away from me!’” Of course, I myself ignore her cries and hug her all I want.
Back to Kurt Carr: The talented musician has a stunning new double-disc project that’s called Just the Beginning. He couldn’t wait to call me and tell me all about it. It’s Kurt’s first CD since 2005’s One Church. Since it’s a double CD, Kurt said, “I gave ’em double the church!”
Kurt said he believes that despite all the years he’s been singing and making music, this is still “just the beginning.” “And not just in my life,” he continued, “but also [for] the singers in my group.”
On the CD, Kurt presents a medley of the many songs he has done through the years. “It’s, like, 14 songs and it’s, like, a medley of my life, and it’s just really a way of chronicling what God has done in my life.” Kurt is so crazy, he admitted that when the band played all of his hit songs, he listened and thought, “Ooh, this is like my funeral!” Kurt is especially proud of the song “Peace and Favor Rest on Us” because he said he got the song about a year ago and he didn’t think it would come out during a time when the economy would be crazy. “Everybody is struggling: the rich, the poor … The recession is just affecting everybody. But it’s good to know that, as believers, we can live by the favor of God.”
Kurt also has a song called “God Is a Healer.” He said the song really struck a chord with people, including Prophetess Juanita Bynum. When she heard the song, she picked up the telephone and called Kurt. “That song is one for the nation,” Juanita said. Kurt said he was really touched that she would take time out to call him and encourage him. “Just to know that I’ve touched the hearts of frontline ministers, not just laymen and not just people in the church, but people that are really on the front line. So I told her she has to sing it!” Kurt also reached out to the Rev. Timothy Wright. The Rev. Wright, as you know, was in that horrible car crash that killed his wife and grandson. “He’s coming along,” Kurt said, “because when we did that song they didn’t think he was going to make it through the night. God is a healer.”
When Kurt began going to church as a child, Narcissus Hinton-Brown, a now 90-year-old singer from Hartford, Connecticut, was one of his inspirations. Kurt recalled one of his performances with her: “I gave her that mic, Calvin, and she turned the White House out! She had President George W. Bush lifting his hands ‘in the sanctuary.’” Kurt said that’s what the theme of this album is all about: “I wrote a song for Tramaine [Hawkins] called ‘Don’t Count Me Out,’ which really reflected that moment. This woman is 90 years old and [Narcissus] said, ‘This is the greatest moment of my life … and God opened this door for me. When I was your age, I would not have even been able to walk through this door.’” Kurt said that President Bush didn’t just shake Narcissus’s hand; he walked up and hugged her. I guess George W. Bush felt the Holy Spirit, huh! Kurt said that those are the kinds of things that happen that really make life rewarding.
Kurt gives credit to people like Tramaine. He said her music drew him to Christ. He grew up in a Christian, but not necessarily churchgoing, family. So when he heard songs that trailblazers such as Tramaine Hawkins, Edwin and Walter Hawkins, The Clark Sisters and the Rev. James Cleveland were singing, these songs touched Kurt’s heart and helped change his life.
Kurt, I hope you know that what you’ve done is take your musical gifts and cast them out into the world. And those of us who are blessed enough to hear them really thank God. So keep it coming, dude!
For more Stomps & Shouts, pick up the February 2009 issue of Sister 2 Sister magazine.