"Elvis Carden -- Singing His Way"

by Eric Harabadian

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Carl Perkins, the Beatles, George Jones, Charley Pride, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and Hank Williams, Jr. all had their place in the formidable education of traditional country singer-songwriter and activist Elvis L. Carden. The fifty-something Carden had been singing and playing since very young but really got his career in gear while serving in Vietnam during the mid-sixties. "We were stationed near the Cambodian border and Johnny Rivers and Ann Margaret came to perform for us," explains Carden. "It was really inspiring and I picked up a guitar over there during R&R, got a reel to reel tape recorder, and started playing. When my sergeant was killed, I wrote "Loving A Soldier" in dedication to him. Soon after writing the song he tried to get someone to record it but was unsuccessful. It was suggested he record it himself. Upon doing so, he needed a B-side for the single, so he wrote "Vietnam Blues." It went number one on radio in Maryland and on Armed Forces Radio.

Carden's success spawned a prodigious career performing for military events at Arlington, Walter Reed and entertaining U.S. troops overseas preparing to enter Vietnam.

When Desert Storm erupted in the early nineties, Elvis was on the scene with an update to his "Vietnam Blues" called "Saudi Iraqi Blues." It again was a hit and garnered heavy play on Armed Forces Radio.

Today Carden, with the help of his daughter and publicist Karen, is working to expand more inroads for his music throughout the entire United States. So far he is receiving airplay in Tennessee, West Virginia, Oklahoma and Texas with more markets planned on the horizon. "I've always had a lot of great support from fans and radio stations overseas," says Carden. "They really enjoy traditional country music and want to hear more of it. An overseas DJ told me he likes the modern stuff like Shania Twain but resents the fact that the record labels promote it as country when it's really pop. You see, traditional country is about real life experiences. It's about people's stories and hardships. It is a real injustice that there is a large portion of the listening public that is being overlooked in America."

Elvis Carden is a member of the Country Music Association, a B.M.I. songwriter and publisher and a lifetime member of the Vietnam Veterans of America, doing a number of fundraising events each year for vets issues. His songs have won numerous awards, and he also finds time to produce other artists, too.

The country troubadour, who also designed his own acoustic guitar shaped house, has performed on The Nashville Network and continues to merge his love of music and causes with an almost spiritual reverence. "I've heard people say to me, 'Man, you're in music -- you don't have to be involved in politics or religion'," shares Elvis, "and I say the problem we've got in this country is we ain't discussed either one. I guess that's why we're having a problem!"

Elvis Carden's latest performances were in Melbourne, Florida at the Bedard Vietnam Vets Reunion on April 27th, 28th and 29th, 2001.

Guitar House Records and Publishing, P.O. Box 593, Palmetto, GA 30268

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