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Six years later, tour brought musician back to Oxford


A little past midnight, a bleeding sophomore collapsed to the floor holding his stomach. He was stabbed in his stomach, lower abdomen, under his left eye and behind his ear. His drunken roommate and former fraternity brother stood over him with a knife in his hand as the third roommate dialed 911. The Lafayette police arrived to find the two men fighting tooth and nail. After a critical week-long stay in Baptist Memorial Hospital, the 20-year-old English major withdrew from the University of Mississippi and returned to his home in Austin, Texas. That was Feb. 25, 2007, nearly five years ago to this day.

Carter Beckworth is now a graduate of the University of Texas with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in Spanish, and he recently made his first appearance in Oxford since the incident. 

“I haven’t played at Proud Larry’s,” Beckworth said. “I’m really excited. I feel comfortable here in Oxford; I know this town.” 

He pointed out of the window. “Two Sticks is still there right? I used to play there and at Campus Creek, too. I played at Union Unplugged too.” 

Beckworth recalled his stomping grounds back as a student at Ole Miss. After not being in Oxford for five years, he gave it his all at the concert.

His name is well-known to fans of the hit single, “Mabel,” which played on over 200 radio stations and was selected to appear in two independent films. He is a noted musician who has been critically praised for both his solo work and as the lead vocalist of his band, Baker Hotel.

“Beckworth’s voice is smooth, with just the right amount of soulful grit to his songs that build from their solid singer-songwriter frameworks into rootsy guitar-driven pop,” Andrew Dansby wrote in The Houston Chronicle.

He has shared the stage with such noteworthy performers as Randy Rogers, Carolyn Wonderland, Bob Schneider, Bruce Robison, Black Oak Arkansas, Mike McClure, Micky and the Motorcars and The Resentments.

Beckworth went on to appear on television programs like “My FOX Austin” and “Balcony TV” and has been interviewed by newspapers and radios even in distant cities like Chicago and St. Louis, where he performed. Beckworth has been all over the map during his tour with fellow musician Steve Bernal, who plays the cello alongside Beckworth’s strumming.

“We’re both musicians from Texas,” Bernal said with a chuckle from Carter. They both told funny stories from their trip on the road when they toured all over the United States and most of Texas.

“Memphis was the best place I’ve had a show at,” Beckworth remembered. “The people were engaging and a lot of them bought the album. It’s the atmosphere.” 

Bernal nodded in agreement as he stuck another chip in the spinach cream dip at Proud Larry’s. They decided to eat there and get settled in about three hours before Beckworth’s concert at 9 p.m. this past Saturday.

Beckworth has released four albums with his debut album, “Fairweather Grace,” in 2007 and the most recent, his self-titled sophomore album “Carter Beckworth,” available on the website, www.carterbeckworthmusic.com. The lyrics in the songs are thoughtful and well-written, reflecting upon his studies as an English major.

“A part of me was thinking about writing a book,” Beckworth mused. “But I like playing music more. I was born this way.” He laughed. “Like that Lady Gaga song.”

Beckworth is a promising musician who has done remarkably well despite the incident in Oxford. The wounds are now faded scars, unnoticeable until pointed out. With Bernal at his side, Beckworth toured all over the nation and has a band, Baker Hotel, to work with upon his return to Texas, where he’ll be writing out his whiskey-edged, pendulum hip-swinging songs.