Johnson City Press Wednesday, August 20, 2014

John Thompson

Elizabethton Bureau Chief
jthompson@johnsoncitypress.com
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Local 10-year-old fiddler makes his Grand Ole Opry debut

April 2nd, 2014 5:21 pm by John Thompson

Local 10-year-old fiddler makes his Grand Ole Opry debut

Fiddlin' Carson Peters astounds the huge crowd at the Grand Ole Opry Friday night singing and playing with Ricky Skaggs. (Contributed/Danny Davis)

ELIZABETHTON — Friday was an experience of a lifetime for 10-year-old Carson Peters. It was his debut performance on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, when he played with Ricky Skaggs.

Fiddlin’ Carson Peters is already a seasoned performer, having played at festivals and concerts all around the region. Last August he even performed on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. But his performance on the Grand Ole Opry stage was unexpected.

“We were opening for Ricky Skaggs at the Bijou in Knoxville on Friday, March 21,” Carson said. “I played ‘Sally Goodin.’”

He must have made quite an impression. “After the show, Ricky Skaggs asked me if I wanted to play on the Grand Ole Opry. I said ‘yes, sir.’”

They quickly arranged for Carson to perform during Skaggs’ spot the next Friday.

Carson played “Blue Moon of Kentucky” with Skaggs. Later, Skaggs allowed Carson to play another rendition of “Sally Goodin.”

An unbiased member of the audience, Norman Peters, who is Carson’s grandfather said the audience gave Carson a standing ovation. “It was the only standing ovation of the show,” Norman said.

“I am becoming famous in my old age,” Norman said. “Everybody calls me Carson’s Pappaw.”

While Norman has some difficulty adjusting to his new found fame, he said Carson is unaffected by his fame.

“It just doesn’t get to him,” Norman said. “He is just so cool. Even when he was getting ready to go on stage at the Opry he wasn’t nervous. He was just talking about the ball game he had just watched and said “they lost by just two points.’”

Carson said he got to meet several big name entertainers back stage. “I met Patty Loveless, The Whites and Jeannie Seeley,” he said. “Patty Loveless said I did a good job.”

The next day, Carson said his family took in the sights of Nashville with his cousin, Haley Turbyfill.

After that, he and his parents, Jamie and Robin Peters, returned to their Piney Flats home. His parents said they quickly became aware of his talent, when he could keep time with any tune by clapping or tapping his fingers. He taught himself “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” on a ukulele when he was 2.

Before he left for Nashville last week, Carson said he had told all of his classmates in the fourth grade at Providence Academy that he was going to be on the Grand Ole Opry. “They listened to it on the radio,” Carson said. “They told me I did good.”

To reach such success at such a young age, most people think Carson must devote most of his time to his music, but he has another interest that takes a lot of his time. He is a dedicated baseball player for the Roan Valley Tree Farms of the Elizabethton National Cal Ripken League. He said the new season starts next week. Carson is a pitcher and shortstop. Last year, his season ended just before he had to travel to the Jay Leno show and during that last game he pitched a no hitter.

Carson also enjoys many other things, including the annual Peters Hollow Egg Fight, which has been held on Easter Sunday for the past 191 years. It is held in the backyard of his grandfather Norman. He now fights in the older children’s contest and looks forward to entering the ring with the adults when he turns 13.

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