'Crazy but exciting': Musicians enjoy amazing journey

Story and photos
by Callie Sterling

Jonathan Trawick and Aarun Carter have taken their mutual love for music and have made it not only their careers, but also their entire way of life.

Trawick is originally from Conway, and Carter is from Denver. However, the duo currently calls Portland home. The pair travels regularly to perform.

“We are building our business, and we are enthralled with this music,” Trawick said. “We do what we love, and we wouldn’t trade that for the world.”

Trawick and Carter currently have one album out titled “Deep End Sessions vol. one.”

“We recently released an album on Deep End Sessions,” Trawick said. “It is a project documenting the finest modern musicians playing old time music. We are very proud to have been selected for the project.”

At the young age of 26, Carter has won the 2011 National Young Adult Fiddle Championship and the 2013 Traditional Arkansas State Fiddle Champion title.

“I was awarded first place at the 2013 Arkansas State Fiddle Contest in the Traditional Old-Time division in Mountain View last year,” Carter said. “I also placed second in the Contemporary Arkansas State Fiddle Championship last year. This year I judged the contest.”

Music has always been a part of Carter’s life. Her mother is a fiddle teacher and has also competed in fiddle competitions. Carter’s website, aaruncarter.com, states that Carter may have fell in love with music in the womb, as her mother participated in fiddle competitions while pregnant with Carter. She was taught Suzuki Violin at age 2 and went on to win the Colorado State Small Fry Division at age 4.

Carter plays the fiddle, guitar and mandolin. She graduated from the Denver School of the Arts High School in 2006. She also learned to sing vocals in college.

“In college I was studying commercial music, and they told me I needed to learn to sing or I wouldn’t get anywhere,” Carter said.

Trawick comes from a family of musicians. Although his father and grandfather are Arkansas State Fiddle Champions, 30-year-old Trawick did not begin playing music until he was 20. Trawick plays guitar, mandolin and bass. Like Carter, Trawick also sings vocals. He began playing instruments in order to find a common hobby with his father.

“I had graduated high school and wanted to spend more time with my dad,” Trawick said. “I decided music would be something that I would enjoy, and he would as well. It was a common bond for us.”

Trawick attended the University of Central Arkansas as well as University of Arkansas while living in Arkansas. He received a bachelor of science degree in industrial engineering in 2009. His life took a drastic turn when his love for music led him in another direction.

“Being a musician was never in my scope,” Trawick said. “I would rather do what I love than ‘work for the man’ so to speak. I have to work harder and put a lot of elbow grease in, but it is worth it.”

Carter and Trawick play approximately four shows per week. Some shows are solely the duo, and others are shows where they play backup for other bands.

As a side venture, they teach music to students via Skype. The pair teach online students in Arkansas, Illinois, Utah, Wisconsin, California, Colorado, Oregon, Texas and Washington.

Their goals long-term include making more albums and continuing to grow their business, all while financially making ends meet doing what they love.

“In the next 10 years, our goal is to have at least 10 albums; we want to release one per year,” Trawick said. “We are excited to see where this crazy yet exciting journey takes us.”