Country artist Deana Carter visits Bend

Catching up with the “Strawberry Wine” singer

Nashville was in one of its overtly commercial phases when singer-songwriter Deana Carter came along in 1996 to shake things up a little with a fresh perspective and country-pop sound.

Carter — a Music City native — took an indirect path to country stardom. Rather than glide in on the name or celebrity of her father, acclaimed producer and studio guitarist Fred Carter Jr., she studied rehabilitation therapy at the University of Tennessee. In fact, she received her first guitar as a college graduation gift from her father, but worked with stroke and head injury victims before heeding the call of country music.

Carter honed her songwriting chops at writers’ nights in Nashville and recorded a demo heard by Willie Nelson, who was impressed enough to invite her to perform at Farm Aid VII in 1994. Two years later, her debut record “Did I Shave My Legs for This?” spawned a mega-hit: “Strawberry Wine,” a nostalgic song about a lost love that fueled multiplatinum album sales.

Since, Carter has released new albums every few years, including a 2001 Christmas record with her famous dad, who died in 2010. These days, she divides her time between Los Angeles and Nashville, and she’s still writing songs; she cowrote Kenny Chesney’s 2011 hit “You & Tequila,” and her new record, “Southern Way of Life,” came out late last year on her own label, Little Nugget Records, named in honor of her father’s label, Nugget Records.

On Thursday, Carter will play Maverick’s in Bend with Aaron Benward and Travis Howard of Nashville Unplugged. The three will perform songs and tell stories in an intimate, acoustic setting.

Deana Carter, with Nashville Unplugged; 9 p.m. Thursday; $18 plus fees, available at the contact info below; Maverick’s Country Bar & Grill, 20565 Brinson Blvd., Bend; www.maverickscountry bar.com or 541-325-1886.

—David Jasper