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Arts & Culture

Carter Hulsey: Happy Bearer of Sad Songs


“I don’t write a lot of happy tunes, but I’m a happy guy,” says singer-songwriter Carter Hulsey. The sentiment became something of an artistic mantra in our conversation with the Joplin, MO native.

Hulsey was near the catastrophic tornado that swept through Joplin May 22, 2011. Though he can’t identify how the events affected him artistically, the lyrics to songs like “One That Fell” show the storm’s lasting impression on him: “This ain’t a story about a broken heart/Just one that fell apart/Wish I’d seen you/Wish I’d known you before the storm.”

“It seems like a movie,” he says, looking back at the day the F5 twister struck. “Even talking about it now, it’s surreal.”

Hulsey spoke with Rachel Owens about the tornado, his new album Drive Out and the spontaneous direction his songs have taken.

“Music feels like it’s going in two different directions and I’m going that way,” he says. “I like it over there.”

Hulsey performed the following off his new release:

1.       “Some Things”

2.       “NPR”

3.       “One That Fell”