Back in the Spotlight for Deana Carter

A return to recording after taking a hiatus to raise her son.

In her huge hit single “Strawberry Wine,” Deana Carter remembers being 17 and in love, but she's certainly not ready to be a memory herself. So she’s back, after 10 years, with a new album, Southern Way of Life.

But Deana didn’t fade from the spotlight for the usual reasons. “Honestly, it’s not like I wanted or went out on a bad note or anything,” she tells Country Weekly. “I just had my son and I was going through a split with his dad. I realized I had to make a choice and really focus on him and make sure we were set and he had as much stability as possible. So, I really focused on that.”

When Kenny Chesney’s “You and Tequila” blew up the charts, it brought Deana with it as one of the tune’s co-writers (with “Strawberry Wine” co-writer Matraca Berg). And life has been a wonderful whirlwind of music ever since, including Deana finally making her bittersweet debut at the Grand Ole Opry.

“I get a little emotional because my dad would always say, ‘Now you need to make sure you don’t forget the Opry. That’s a big deal and that could be your meal ticket someday,’” she says of her late father, guitarist and producer Fred Carter. She smiles before going on. “I was sad that he wasn’t able to be here for that, but when I looked down at the floor in the middle of “Strawberry Wine,’ I saw a guitar pick on the floor and I was like, ‘Whew!’ Because I had one guitar pick in my bra and if I lost that one, I had one I could pick up if I needed to.”

For more on Deana's return to recording, pick up the Dec. 2 issue of Country Weekly with George Strait on the cover.

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