Jeff Carson Leaves One Final Song Journey Behind on Posthumous Album ‘448’

On March 26, 2023, country singer, songwriter, and retired police officer, Jeff Carson died of a heart attack in Franklin, Tennessee at the age of 58. Prior to his death, Carson, known for his ’90s hits, including “Not on Your Love” and “The Car,” had retired from law enforcement and was making his way back to his other love: music.

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Signed to Encore Music Group in 2021, Carson began recording an album of his earlier songs but passed away before its release on May 12, 2023.

About to enter his second musical life, 448—posthumously named after his badge number in the police —retraced some of Carson’s earlier steps in music, from his debut single, “Yeah Buddy,” released in 1995, through “Butterfly Kisses,” the title track of his 1997 album, “I Almost Never Loved You” and the closing “Shine On,” the latter two originally released on his 2001 album, Real Life.

Produced by former Toto member, Buddy Hyatt, who also plays piano and keyboard on the album, 448 features a collection of musicians, including old friends, singers Darryl Worley, Michael Ray, and Craig Morgan, who are featured on the tracks “Not On Your Love,” “Real Life (I Was Never The Same Again),” and “The Car,” respectively.

Born Jeffrey Lee Herndon on December 16, 1963 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Carson started singing in church at a young age and later formed a band in Arkansas. Eventually, he made his way to Nashville, where he began recording demos for Reba McEntire (“The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter”), Faith Hill (“It Matters To Me”), Tim McGraw (“I Wouldn’t Want It Any Other Way”), Diamond Rio (“Mirror Mirror”), Tracy Byrd (“Walkin’ To Jerusalem”), and Tracy Lawrence (“I See it Now”), among others.

Signed with Curb Records in 1995, Carson released his self-titled debut, featuring “Yeah Buddy,” along with his No. 1 hit “Not on Your Love,” and “The Car,” which peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. He then released Butterfly Kisses and Real Life, followed by a number of singles, before leaving music for nearly a decade.

In 2007, Carson decided to switch careers and went through the necessary training to join the police department in 2009. For nearly eight years he didn’t pick up his guitar, until a friend asked him to perform at a casino show in Michigan. This spark brought Carson back to music, and he was soon performing George Jones and Merle Haggard tributes for the Fraternal Order of Police.

Following the pandemic and social and political issues, Carson re-recorded his song “God Save The World,” which he previously released with Lisa Brokop in 2003.

“Without a doubt this song is more relatable to today’s society than when I cut it years ago,” said Carson of the song when he rerecorded it. “I think people will appreciate its message. It just felt like the right time to re-record it.”

Before his death, Carson said he never regretted leaving music for police service.

“I have had the best of both worlds,” shared Carson, “and feel very fortunate that I have had the opportunity of doing two things that I love.”

‘448’ Track List

  1. “Yeah Buddy”
  2. “Not On Your Love”
  3. “The Car”
  4. “Holdin’ On to Something”
  5. “Butterfly Kisses”
  6. “I Almost Never Loved You”
  7. “Real Life (I Never Was the Same Again)”
  8. “I Can Only Imagine”
  9. “Shine On”

Photo: Jeremy Westby / Courtesy of 2911 Media

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