Singer-songwriters Clint Sherman and Carson Peters started off as competitors on Season 21 of the singing competition show, The Voice. After seeing their strong connection on stage, they decided to take their talent off stage and record their youthful love song, “Happy to Drive.”
Hailing from Texas and Tennessee, these artists auditioned for The Voice in hopes of taking their careers to the next level. Little did they know that they would come out on the other side with someone who matches their level of talent and passion for country music.
“I never really even thought I would go be on The Voice,” Sherman told Country Now. “I kind of always thought I would do it my own way.”
With a bit of encouragement, Sherman decided to audition for the show in February of 2020, right before live music came to a halt. Instead of looking at the situation in a negative way, he focused on the bright side.
“It gave me an opportunity to kind of pivot my music career. While I wasn’t playing gigs, I was able to focus on getting on the show.”
After three rounds of auditions, he finally made the cut.
Before his audition, Peters was a 16-year-old traveling the country playing 65-70 shows a year with his successful bluegrass band. Much like Sherman, he didn’t feel a strong need to try out for the show until live music took a pause, and he was itching to get back to performing.
After multiple rounds of auditions, they both found themselves on the show and part of Blake Shelton’s team. Peters and Sherman had gotten to know each other during that time and eventually were paired together for the battle round. For their first performance together, they won over the judges with their cover of Vince Gill’s “Don’t Let Our Love Start Slipping Away.”
“I was really, really hoping that I would get paired with a more classic country artist and someone who I really liked their stuff because you know, Blake’s team that season was super diverse,” said Peters. “We had, we had country, we had rock, we had all kinds of stuff.”
Peters dubbed his partnership with Sherman as “ideal” because they related to each other’s sound and had strong communication behind the scenes. Once they left the show, they realized their work together couldn’t stop there.
“I just thought our voices sounded really well together,” Sherman explained. “We’ve both kinda got this tenor and Carson’s got this cool, raspy kind of rock and roll deal that he blends with the country stuff. Plus, Carson’s just a great musician. That was really where I was like, ‘I wanna work with this dude after the show.’”
In an effort to bring their voices back together, Sherman reached out to Peters and pitched the song “Happy to Drive,” which he had written before going on the show. It was mostly finished, but when Peters agreed to be featured on the project, it needed a few tweaks to incorporate a bit of both of them.
The opening line, “I met her somewhere between DTX and Tennessee,” was originally written as “NTX and New Orleans.” Since Peters was based in Tennessee and Sherman was based in Dallas, TX, it made the most sense to change those lyrics to fit their lives.
“I knew that Carson would help me elevate the song because he’s a great fiddle player,” Sherman gushed. “I also just felt like the bridge needed this real punchy voice and that’s what Carson has.”
Carson explained that upon hearing the demo, he was instantly hooked and wanted to be part of the love song.
“It’s just talking about the simplicity of driving around and listening to the radio and being in love,” he said. “It’s everything that I consider being happy, so it really resonated with me with the lyrics and also the sound is just super cool. It’s really upbeat and makes you want to move around.”
The song that can be described as “romantic, hopeful and naive” falls somewhere between Texas country and classic country.
“When you’re young and you’re in love, there’s nothing that’s really going to keep you from it,” Sherman said referring to the lyrics that speak on the stage in a relationship when everything is easy, fun and full of hope for the future.
“I want people to hear it and just feel joy and be able to drive with the windows down, playing this tune and have the wind blowing through their hair,” he added.
Peters explained that with his career, he hopes to unite his history with bluegrass and classic country music to create a ‘90s country feel while incorporating his skills with the fiddle. This song is one of the first steps to reaching that goal.
“I had a minor identity crisis after the show. I had grown a bluegrass fan base, and now I’m branching out into country,” he explained. “The last thing I wanted anybody to think, especially the bluegrass crowd, was that I was leaving bluegrass for good.”
“I love bluegrass and I love country music,” Peters continued. “That’s about all I listen to and it’s an even mix. I don’t prefer one over the other, I just love them both.”
In correlation with their new song, Sherman and Peters decided to hit the road for their Happy to Drive stint to promote their song and get back on stage together. Beginning on June 26, they will perform at Ol’ Red both in Gatlinburg and Nashville as they make their way through Tennessee.