When Cort Carpenter saw 35,000 fists start pumping to the sound of his latest musical experiment — a creative cocktail of the emerging country star’s own highly eclectic influences — he realized he was onto something big. “Fire in the Night” — an unmistakably country tune, seamlessly infused with an unexpectedly danceable beat — brought the entire crowd to its feet at Rock the South, the legendary music festival that drew tens of thousands of fans to Cullman, Alabama in June.
After the show, the response that followed was just as exciting — Cort’s social media channels immediately blew up with praise. “We had tons of people write in saying, ‘You were one of our favorite sets at the whole festival!’ That lineup included big guys I really admire, like Florida Georgia Line and Thomas Rhett, so that was a huge compliment,” says Cort.
The warm reception was all the more remarkable because country music fans are a cultural force not known for embracing change. The secret to the sound’s success lies in Cort’s long history with, and deep respect for, two musical genres that rarely overlap — country music and EDM.
“I’m not just doing EDM country, that’s not what I’d call it,” Cort says. “I’d use the words ‘progressive country.’ I’m just starting to add some progressive sounds in. So I still do have poppy country songs, and ‘What Were We Drinking’ is still a classic slow song you’d hear on country radio. I’m slowly merging the new sound into it and testing the waters. So far, so good!”
Cort says his fans are open to his edgier side because he makes sure his shows are always still country first. “We’re careful not to scare people into thinking the place has turned into a dance club,” he jokes. “We’ve just been playing the new songs as much as we can, just fitting them into a set when the time is right,” says Cort. “It was just an idea I had, and I decided to take it to another level. It looks like it has been working,”
Check out Cort Carpenter’s just-released EP, Changing Lanes here.