“Mississippi” Gabe Carter, who is actually from South Bend, Indiana, earned the nickname “Mississippi” from his down-home, playing-on-the-porch style of guitar, which he adopted from hearing the distinctive guitar picking of the Bentonia, Mississippi region. As a child he started playing a one-string, garage sale guitar that his father bought for $5. But it was a public library video of Bentonia guitarist Jack Owens that gave Gabe Carter his passion and direction going forward with music.
Those who first hear Mississippi Gabe Carter often say that he sounds like he plays in the manner of Skip James, who, along with his predecessor, Henry Stuckey, is one of the progenitors of the Bentonia style that the late Jack Owens (who appeared on these stages) kept alive until his death in 1997 at 92 years of age.
For at least a decade, Carter has busked on the streets of Chicago and in the subways beneath the city where his amplified, buzzing, open minor-key guitar picking gained hair raising other
worldliness from the echoey tunnels.
Thus far Carter has released several CDs, some or all of which are self-produced, including Midnight Dream (2008), Until They Drag Me Down (Highly Flavored, 2011), I Was Born to Preach the Gospel (Lord and Gabe, 2014), and Live From Rosemont (2015). He has made several other festival appearances around the country and has played clubs and festivals in France, Italy, and Peru.