Carolina Rain—including Baxter, lead vocalist/guitarist Rhean (pronounced “wren”) Boyer and low harmony singer/banjo player Marvin Evatt—is the culmination of three very different stories. Tennessean Baxter grew up part of a family gospel group, South Carolina’s Evatt was originally trained to be a Broadway performer, and Virginia-bred Boyer was a runaway teen who lived with a biker gang for a while.
The trio became acquainted in Nashville, discovered that its contrasting paths were all connected by the same music and began a journey in 1999 that led it down a challenging road. Carolina Rain netted a management contract within its first few days, and soon caught the attention of songwriter-producer Robert Ellis Orrall (noted for hits with Reba McEntire, Shenandoah and Clay Walker). But that quick reaction disguised the years it would take for their story to unfold. They flirted with success several times—a label showcase bombed when the sound system failed to work, they walked away from a potential record deal when they felt the terms were too stifling—before they finally found a home at the Equity Music Group.
Their debut album, Weather The Storm, introduced their tight vocal sound through three Top 25 singles from the CD. In the wake of their efforts, the band received its first nomination from the Academy of Country Music this year, a nod for Top New Duo or Vocal Group. The “new” part is ironic. Carolina Rain might be new to the general public, but their nine-year history and united perseverance are a big reason for the band’s seamless harmonies. Their friendship is a microcosm of the larger community, one that’s represented well in the Justin Niebank-produced “American Radio.” Their spirit is the same one that radio, in its best moments, embodies—one that brings people together through shared experience.