If you want to learn the facts about Valerie Carter's considerable success as a solo performer, background vocalist and songwriter, don't ask her. Oh, sure, she'll tell you that she's worked with James Taylor as a background singer dating back to 1975. She'll probably admit that she's recorded and toured over the years with a sparkling list of artists, among them Jackson Browne, Lowell George, Linda Ronstadt and the Eagles, to name but a few. If you ask, she might own up, rather reluctantly, to having written Judy Collins's 1973 hit Cook With Honey and to her association as a songwriter with Browne, George and others. But Valerie Carter, who's probably one of the most congenial -- and modest -- people you'll ever meet, really prefers to direct attention away from herself. Refreshingly lacking an oversized ego in a business where divas are a dime a dozen, she marvels at how everything that's happened professionally has been completely mind-blowing to her.
Valerie's career began when she was a teenager, and success came early. With friends Jon Lind and Richard Hovey, she formed a group called Howdy Moon. The trio signed with A&M, which released their 1974 recording, Howdy Moon, produced by Lowell George (Little Feat). After Howdy Moon disbanded, Lowell George co-produced (with George Massenburg and Bob Irwin) Valerie's first solo album, Just A Stone's Throw Away (Columbia, 1977). Stone's Throw featured an all-star line-up of supporting players, including George, Linda Ronstadt, Earth, Wind and Fire's Maurice White, the Lovin' Spoonful's John Sebastian and singer Deniece Williams on backing vocals, Jackson Browne on piano and guitar, Toto's Jeff Porcaro on drums, and Little Feat's (and one-time James Taylor band member) Billy Payne on keyboards. The LP also contained three of Valerie's compositions, two of which were written with Lowell George.