Image: Deana Carter
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Nashville born and bred singer Deana Carter has been a staple of the country music scene, when her debut single “Strawberry Wine” reached No. 1 on the Billboard country charts.
Special to
updated 6/18/2008 10:51:32 AM ET 2008-06-18T14:51:32

Nashville born and bred singer Deana Carter has been a staple of the country music scene since 1996, when her debut single “Strawberry Wine” reached No. 1 on the Billboard country charts. She’s had two additional No. 1s and multi-platinum album sales. Her most recent album of classic cover songs, “The Chain,” features a who’s-who of guest stars including Kris Kristofferson, Dolly Parton, Paul Simon, Willie Nelson and George Jones. We caught up with her recently to talk about life on the road.

Q: You travel everywhere and have probably been to every American city. Which is your favorite one?

A: Well, it isn’t always cities. Country musicians hit a lot of out-of-the-way places, too. But I’ve been lucky that I’ve played a lot of rock clubs. I never get to the place enough, but I love Boston. There’s a cool little pace called the Warren Tavern. It’s where (John F.) Kennedy started campaigning and also where Paul Revere rounded up the troops, supposedly. Boston’s a great place and definitely in my top five. Obviously New Orleans, too. We’ve played there a lot, and for history and music, you can’t really beat it.

Q: Have you found any hidden gems out there?

A: Yes. Believe it or not, Boise, Idaho, is a great town. There are beautiful homes, and per capita it’s decently priced for what you get for the money. There are so many great places to play all over the country. It’s hard to nail it down. Minneapolis is a great place to play country music, also, as strange as that may seem.

Q: Do you ever get to vacation?

A: Not really very often, but I live in L.A. and there’s a lot to do and the weather’s always good, so you feel like you’re on permanent vacation. And I’m the person who lives in Hollywood but still takes the cheesy tour on the bus with the tinted windows because I’m into history.

Q: Any other good vacation destinations?

A: I travel to Nashville all the time, and it’s always great to be back with family whenever I can. I’ve been to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and that’s a great place to go and ski. I went to Hawaii a few years ago. That was awesome. We did a show over there in Kauai and I loved it. I don’t get to vacation like I want to! I wish I did. The California wine country’s always nice. I’m not that particular. I like to walk or jog around little towns.

Q: What’s your ideal vacation?

A: If it was safe, I would love to go to the Holy Land and the parts of the world that are so ancient but are still thriving. Just to get some perspective, you know? I toured around Europe years ago and really liked it. For leisure, I would like to go to Ireland and Australia, but otherwise, I’d love to see the ruins and see Jerusalem and things you read about in the Bible. The history of the world.

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Q: When you’re on vacation, do you sit around and get tan or are you a busybody?

A: I like to be active. I love to play golf, but I don’t get to do it nearly like I used to. I love to be outside doing sports or whatever. I’d actually love to go on one of those boats with about 10 people where they take you out and sail and you work on the boat. That would be very cool. I did have my Coast Guard license for a minute and worked on inboard and outboard motors at a summer camp in Rapaho, North Carolina. My job was the boats.

Q: No way.

A: I know, I don’t look like it, but I can drive a mean ski boat. I can promise you that.

Q: Speaking of driving, you’re on a tour bus all the time. Has that ever gotten interesting?

A: We’ve had a bus fire, which was really scary. We couldn’t get out. The smoke and the electrical fire was very scary. Another time we were pulling a trailer and the trailer unhitched and took the exit ramp and we didn’t. It was like, ‘Hey, that looks like our trailer. Wait, that is our trailer!’ It crashed over the interstate. That was a freak scene. Doing this for all these years, we’ve had lots of planes, trains and automobiles. We’ve never shown up at the wrong gig, so that’s a good thing.

Q: Are you particular about the food and drink on the bus?

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A: I have to have a nice bottle of Pinot Noir and the snack I love and everybody gives me so much grief about it is Doritos and Tostitos with mozzarella cheese slices.

Q: It sounds good, actually.

A: Thank you! It is. I’ll eat it cold. That’s my staple snack. That with a fine Pinot Noir is quite delicious.

Q: Are you a superstitious traveler?

A: I do three knocks on the plane before I get on. It’s an odd number and I don’t know why I do it, but it’s the trinity for me, and so far, so good.

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