Seven song EP captures truths about life
Carly Pearce has carved a place in today’s country music by being honest about her doubt, shouldering tough truths and creating space for pain, laughter and growth. She has mined vulnerability with the same honesty that defined Tammy Wynette with the chart-topping, platinum-certified hits “Every Little Thing” and “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” which elicited a prestigious CMA Song of the Year nomination.
As the percolating siren “Next Girl” climbs the country radio and streaming charts, the CMA Musical Event of the Year winner and most nominated new artist forges forward with 29, due February 19th via Big Machine Records. A creative burst inspired by her time writing with Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne, these seven songs measure the realizations, hopes and letting go that comes with becoming an adult in full. It also marks a new grounding in a deeper kind of country music, something that reaches down into the roots of what Pearce grew up on.
“Losing Busbee was such a moment of upheaval,” explains the woman American Songwriter calls “the Kentucky native with the fiery voice” of her creative hub. “He had believed in me…carried me… brought me through everyone getting deals around me… because he knew something I couldn’t see: that it would happen.”
“And then as we’re doing Lee Brice’s vocal on ‘I Hope You’re Happy Now,’ he had that first seizure, and my creative world started to unravel. It’s scary being out there on your own, and I think the response to the song… going platinum, being nominated for Song of the Year… That was a little bit of him telling me to stand tall, to walk forward, to know my life and my writing would carry my voice and my dream forward.”
Teaming with McAnally and Osborne, Pearce returned to her roots as a girl who loved the strong women of ‘90s country. Suddenly, the multi-generational tumble “Should’ve Known Better,” the soul slink “Liability” and the slow build homage to Busbee “Show Me Around” gave a shape to the seven songs that compromise the next chapter for the songwriter Rolling Stone Country praises for “the production is lean, highlighting Pearce’s impassioned delivery.”
Focusing on Pearce’s pure tone and airy to sultry notes, 29 marks a coming of age for both her sound and her presence in today’s emerging country female universe. From The Judds’-feeling title track with its twin fiddle embellishments that suggests Loretta Lynn’s lyricism to the silken “Liability” and the survivalist throb of “Day One,” she traces the journey from heartbroken to healing with an incandescent candor.
“The best songs come from the moment, from real creative spark – and Josh and Shane bring it out of me,” Pearce marvels. “I was unsure where my music would be without Busbee. They both know where my musical heart is, and they understand how to capture exact details for much larger truths. The more specific they write, the more people I think can see themselves in the songs.”
“I feel lighter reflecting on the last year and pouring my soul into this music and wanted to share it in hopes that others to will take from the songs what they need. With streaming and social media, we were able record music for the sole purpose of letting my fans know where my heart is without any expectations. That’s a kind of immediacy that makes making records really exciting. I can’t wait to share 29.”
1. Next Girl | Carly Pearce, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
2. Should’ve Known Better | Carly Pearce, Jordan Reynolds, Emily Shackelton
3. 29 | Carly Pearce, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
4. Liability | Carly Pearce, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
5. Messy | Carly Pearce, Sarah Buxton, Jimmy Robbins*
6. Show Me Around | Carly Pearce, Emily Shackelton, Ben West
7. Day One | Carly Pearce, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne, Matthew Ramse