Fred Carpenter started violin lessons at age 7 and turned to fiddling by age 17. He recorded his first fiddle album 'Cut Loose' at age 20. In 1980, Fred moved to California, where he joined The Tony Rice Unit. He toured with Tony Rice for three years and recorded two albums, 'Still Inside' and 'Backwaters’. Fred spent the next three years playing fiddle with The Dillards. In 1987, Fred joined Emmylou Harris and the Hot Band, touring with Emmylou for two years.
From 1989 to 1992, Fred toured with several artists including Paul Overstreet, Ronnie Milsap, Barbara Mandrell, Suzy Bogguss, Ricky Van Shelton, and George Strait. In 1992, he recorded his second album, 'In the Stillness', a collection of original instrumentals. In the year 2000, Fred received an IBMA award and a Grammy nomination for his fiddle work on ‘Murder on Music Row’, a CD recorded with Larry Cordle and Lonesome Standard Time.
Starting in 2006, Fred toured with Kathy Mattea, until joining guitarist Tim May in 2008 to form “Carpenter & May”. Their first self-titled CD allows Fred to feature his fine lead vocals for the first time.