Country music hitmaker Lacy J. Dalton is known for her willingness to help others, whether it be teaching songwriting to prisoners, saving wild horses throughout the West or simply rescuing a dog that has become the subject of her holiday favorite, “Carl The Christmas Dog.”
While the the song and video is based on a true story, however, much like the movies, it’s not meant to be a literal portrayal, and the video presents the story with exaggerated humor. While it is very true that Carl did eat the tree, presents and a bunch of other things, he did NOT however eat the cat, that part of the video was just for spoof and fun, with a stuffed cat being used in the fictitious reenactment.
“Carl is not much of a guard dog, but he sure is like my best friend,” says Lacy J. Dalton. In making the video, Dalton adds, “This is quite the departure from many of the previous music videos, but I wanted to just get some friends and keep it fun and simple. So all we did was gather some good friends, Carl (the dog), a phone and a camera. I sure hope it brings some joy to everyone this Christmas season.” The video is fun and was in part actually shot at a good humored veterinarian's hospital with the owner also appearing in the spoof.
Known as an animal lover, Dalton did rescue Carl even though she was out of town when contacted by a close friend as to Carl's impending fate and had to find a temporary placement for him until she returned to town. Carl has been part of her family ever since.
Lacy J. Dalton's career has spanned many decades and touched the hearts of millions of music fans. In March 2017 Lacy J Dalton was inducted into the North American Country Music Association International Hall of Fame. She’s one of the most instantly recognizable voices in music – the woman People Magazine called “Country’s Bonnie Raitt”.
From the first time Lacy J Dalton caught the public’s ear, that soulful delivery, full of texture and grit, has been a mainstay of Country Music. When you sit to listen to a Lacy J Dalton album, you find yourself pulled in by the very power and heart of her vocals, because she is not merely performing, she’s bringing each and every tune to life. It’s as if they were all written especially for her. Prior to signing with Harbor Records in 1978 as Jill Croston, she like many before her, held many jobs to survive and support her family.
As a truck stop waitress and singer, she would wait tables and then jump on stage to sing a few songs. Her hard work and dedication paid off in 1979 when she was awarded the Academy of Country Music “Top New Female Vocalist of the Year”. Then in 1980 Lacy J Dalton was signed by Columbia Records and quickly rose to national prominence with "Crazy Blue Eyes", written together with her longest friend, Mary McFadden, a song that raced to #7 on the Country Charts. Lacy’s success was powered not just by the artist’s recordings, but by her stage shows that truly electrified audiences.
Dalton quickly became one of the few women who could successfully open a show for the likes of Hank Williams, Jr, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard or Charlie Daniels. Not only could she do it, but she left audiences across the country hollering for more. Her hit records are legendary million-airplay cuts: “Hard Times”; “Crazy Blue Eyes”; “Hillbilly Girl with the Blues”; “Takin’ It Easy”; “Everybody Makes Mistakes”; the worldwide hit, “Black Coffee” and her signature song, “16th Avenue”, the Anthem for Nashville songwriters voted one of Country’s Top 100 Songs ever.
Awarded Best New Female Artist by the Academy of Country Music in 1979, she also brought home numerous Grammy nominations and 3 prestigious, back to back (1979, 1980, 1981) Bay Area Music Awards for Best Country-Folk Recordings. Dalton appeared on those shows with the likes of Neil Young, The Grateful Dead, Grace Slick and the Jefferson Airplane. Lacy's collaboration with Willie Nelson on his “Half Nelson” CD was a high spot for her. Lacy was the only woman featured on that recording, which included singing legends Ray Charles, Neil Diamond, Merle Haggard, Julio Iglesias, George Jones, Leon Russell, Carlos Santana, Mel Tillis, Hank Williams Sr., and Neil Young, and was awarded a couple Gold Records for it.
Lacy J. also received a Gold Record from Hank Williams Jr in 1985 for her support performances throughout his “Five-0 Tour”. Her career includes accomplishments in music, television and radio. From her instantly recognizable charted hit songs to her notable duets recorded with with George Jones, Willie Nelson, Bobby Bare, Glen Campbell, Eddie Rabbit, David Allen Coe and many others. Her television debut was in the motion picture “Take This Job And Shove It”. Her acting has also included live stage and theater performances.
Currently Lacy J Dalton continues to record and perform. As an independent artist , Lacy has released three albums, "Wild Horse Crossing" on her own label, Song Dog Records in 1999. The “Last Wild Place Anthology” went #1 on the World Independent Chart, a year later the CD went #1 on the American Western Music Chart, and then Allison Eastwood, Clint Eastwood's daughter, used the hit song “Slip Away” from the Anthology CD on the soundtrack of her independent film, “Don't Tell”. In 2010 she also released, a tribute to Hank Williams Sr, entitled, "Here's To Hank".
This year Lacy J. celebrated the 40th anniversary of her album and hit title track “Takin’ It Easy,” which was released in July of 1981. Co-written by Dalton, Mark Sherill, and Billy Sherill, the song was the highest-charting single of Dalton’s career and received a Million Airplay Award from BMI. Perfectly fitting for the easygoing tune, the vision for “Takin’ It Easy” came to life by Dalton and Mark while on a boat in the middle of Old Hickory Lake near Nashville, before being taken to Billy for production. Upon release, it became one of Dalton’s most well-known songs to date. Other chart-toppers off “Takin’ It Easy” include fan favorites, “Everybody Makes Mistakes” and “Wild Turkey.”
“My ol’ buddy and writing partner, Mark Sherrill had the idea for this fun song. His big dream at the time was to have a bait and tackle shop and fishing boat business……real laid back, sorta Jimmy Buffet style,” shares Dalton. “He and I wrote on it for a few days, and then took it in to show it to my producer and his uncle, the great Billy Sherrill. Billy got all excited by it but sent us back to the drawing board. We worked on it some more, and then he decided to write with us, which was just a blast! We had a ball writing together, and the song turned out to be a pretty big record. It never would have happened though without Mark Sherrill’s original vision of wanting to go where the warm winds blow and just taking it easy in some tropical paradise.”
Dalton continues to please fans with her music from both her past and present with live performances. She also continues to support her favorite causes as well and performed at the Piper’s Opera House in Virginia City, NV this past August to support the Country legend’s ‘Let ’em Run’ Foundation, a volunteer organization dedicated to preserving, recovering, and providing sanctuary and homes for America’s wild horses and burros. This is a mission that Lacy J. continues to hold dear to her heart, this was the second fundraiser since the pandemic to help assist the organization as a songwriter “round” style show.
Lacy J. Dalton has also recorded a number of other Christmas classics which to date have appeared on different Christmas compilation albums. However, 'Carl the Christmas Dog' is her first original and obviously her first comedic video offering for the holiday, which Lacy J. Dalton describes as her favorite time of the year. The video and song is available on all streaming and digital platforms.
Lacy J. Dalton will also be gracing the Foothills Event Center stage to sing Christmas classics as well as her own hits on Saturday, December 15 at 8:00 pm.. You would be blessed if you have the opportunity to get in the spirit of the season by attending a “A Country Christmas With Lacy J. Dalton".
By Deborah Gibson