By Ron VandenBoom
Thursday night's Police Protective Association Concert at Montana State University-Northern was a perfect night for the classics and singer/songwriter Wayne Carson was in a mood to oblige.
Carson appeared much like an old friend in the family living room calm, gentle, and friendly as he sat on the stage with nothing but his guitar for accompaniment and presented one classic hit after another. Much to the surprise and pleasure of the audience an audience that more than once must have said, "I didn't know he wrote that song."
It should come as a great surprise however because while Carson may not be a household name, his songs are, and there's hardly anyone alive who, at one time or another, hasn't heard a Wayne Carson song.
He has written songs that became hits for rock groups and country artists alike. Artists like Eddy Arnold a superstar among country artists and the man who recorded the first Carson hit, "Somebody Like Me." Carson said he still has lunch with Arnold on those rare occasions when he's back in Nashville Tennessee.
"Soul Deep," "The Letter," "Always on My Mind," "Neon Rainbow," and "Who's Julie" are just a few of the tunes that over the years have entertained audiences from coast to coast.
"I've been doing this for a long, long time," the Grammy Award winning songwriter said just prior to performing.
Today a member of the Songwriter's Hall of Fame, Carson started performing when he was 15 in a band that played mostly top 10 hits.
"I got tired of playing the same old top 10 over and over and decided to write some of my own songs," he said.
Like many artists, Carson worked for years writing and performing before getting that lucky break that led to the Eddy Arnold hit.
"It slowly started taking off from there," he said.
Last night's audience saw the culmination of years of hard work and experience that only great talents can provide.
While he said he doesn't perform as much as he use to, Carson continues to write for the new generation of artists making hits.
But don't bother to ask him which of his old hits are his favorites because he likes them all.
"It's kind of like walking up to a spring and saying, this 10 gallons of water is better than this 10 gallons of water,'" he said. "It's all coming out of one source."
Thursday's audience says more than 10 gallons of talent and the Carson spring is expected to just keep on flowing.