Jeffrey Lee Herndon (born December 16, 1963), known professionally as Jeff Carson, is an American former country music artist. Originally a session musician in Branson, Missouri and later a demo singer, he was signed to Curb Records in 1995, releasing his self-titled debut album that year, followed by Butterfly Kisses in 1998 and Real Life in 2002. He has charted fourteen singles on the Billboard country charts, including the Number One hit "Not on Your Love", the Top Ten hits "The Car" and "Holdin' Onto Somethin'", and the Top 20 "Real Life (I Never Was the Same Again)". He retired from music in 2009 and became a police officer.
Jeff Carson was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and raised in Gravette, Arkansas. In his childhood, he played harmonica and guitar and sang in church. In high school, he and some friends formed a band. They won second place at a local talent show for performing the song "Seven Bridges Road". After graduating, he moved on to another talent competition held at a park in Rogers, Arkansas. The winner of that competition then asked Carson to play in his band, which he did for four years until the band split up.
Carson later moved on to Branson, Missouri, where he found work playing bass guitar in local bands, in addition to writing songs. While in Branson, he met his then-future wife, who persuaded him to move to Nashville, Tennessee, which he did in 1989. In Nashville, he found work with a band that played at the Opryland Hotel, before convincing the hotel to book him as a solo act. He eventually recorded demos for other artists, before he was discovered by record producer Chuck Howard in 1994 and signed to Curb Records.
Carson's debut single, "Yeah Buddy", was released in late 1994, peaking at number 69 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart. It was followed by "Not on Your Love", which became his only number one later that year. Both singles were included on his debut album, titled Jeff Carson, which produced two more Top Ten hits in "The Car" (number 3) and "Holdin' Onto Somethin'" (number 6), the latter of which was previously recorded by John Michael Montgomery. Between those two singles was a Christmas release called "Santa Got Lost in Texas" (number 70), and after "Holdin' On to Somethin'" came the album's final single, "That Last Mile" (number 62). He also co-wrote the song "Whoop-De-Do" on Keith Gattis' 1996 self-titled debut.Jeff Carson received a mixed review from Country Standard Time, whose Larry Stephens said that "Carson's songs are all good, but nothing sticks or grabs the heart strings."
Carson released his second album in 1997. Entitled Butterfly Kisses, this album produced four singles, none of which reached top 40: "Do It Again" at number 55; the album's title track (number 62), which was also a Number One Adult Contemporary hit and minor country hit for Bob Carlisle as well as a Top 40 pop and country hit for the Raybon Brothers; "Here's the Deal" (number 64); and "Cheatin' on Her Heart" (number 52). This album also included an alternate mix of "Butterfly Kisses" which combined elements of labelmate Kippi Brannon's then-current single "Daddy's Little Girl", as well as a duet with Merle Haggard on a rendition of his hit "Today I Started Loving You Again".
His eleventh single, "Shine On", was released in 1998. After it, too, failed to reach Top 40, Carson's third album was repeatedly delayed. "Scars and All" did not reach the country charts, but was a Number One on the PowerSource Christian charts. Following it in 2001 was his first Top 40 country single in five years, "Real Life (I Never Was the Same Again)". It reached number 14 at the end of the year, and was followed by the release of his third studio album, also called Real Life. In 2002, Carson suffered a broken vertebra in a sledding accident at home. Although he briefly spent some time in a body cast, he was not seriously injured. Another single from Real Life, entitled "Until We Fall Back in Love Again", peaked at number 46.
Carson charted again in 2003 with his cover of the Christian pop hit "I Can Only Imagine", a cut from a multi-artist compilation called God Bless the USA 2003. He also co-wrote the track "Where Has My Hometown Gone" on Craig Morgan's album I Love It, as well as Elbert West's single "Kimberly Cooper's Eyes". A duet with Lisa Brokop entitled "God Save the World", released in 2005, also failed to chart. His most recent single, "When You Said You Loved Me", was sent to radio in early 2007, as the lead-off single to an upcoming Greatest Hits package. The single failed to chart, however, and his Greatest Hits album was cancelled. In February 2009, he retired from the music business and joined the Franklin, Tennessee police force as a full-time police officer. In 2012, he released two songs (the self-written I Fly Proud and the cover version of Dan Seals' You Still Move Me) through his Facebook page, the former was made available through iTunes as well.
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|US Country||US||US Heat||CAN Country|
|"--" denotes the album failed to chart or not released
* denotes unknown peak positions
|Best of Jeff Carson - I Can Only Imagine||
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
|US Country||US||CAN Country|
|1995||"Yeah Buddy"||69||--||--||Jeff Carson|
|"Not on Your Love"||1||97||2|
|1996||"Holdin' Onto Somethin'"||6||--||20|
|"That Last Mile"||62||--||--|
|1997||"Do It Again"||55||--||95||Butterfly Kisses|
|"Here's the Deal"||64||101||--|
|1998||"Cheatin' on Her Heart"||52||--||97|
|"Shine On"||49||--||--||Real Life|
|"--" denotes releases that did not chart|
|2000||"Scars and All"||--||--||Real Life|
|2001||"Real Life (I Never Was the Same Again)"||14||103|
|2002||"Until We Fall Back in Love Again"||46||--|
|2003||"I Can Only Imagine"||50||--||God Bless the USA 2003|
|2005||"God Save the World" (with Lisa Brokop)||--||--||Best of America, Vol. 2|
|2006||"When You Said You Loved Me"||--||--||N/A|
|2012||"I Fly Proud"||--||--|
|"You Still Move Me"||--||--|
|"--" denotes releases that did not chart|