Photo Credit: Allister Ann
LOS ANGELES, CA (September 12, 2021) – Given the deeply personal journey that has informed powerful Country voice Carly Pearce’s work this year, it’s no surprise she’s kicking off release week for 29: WRITTEN IN STONE, the expansion of her CMA Awards Album of the Year nominated 29, with a candid conversation with Rolling Stone Staff Writer Samantha Hissong. Woman-to-woman, the two truth-tellers will meet to examine coming of age, facing the unthinkable and finding one’s own voice and power during an extended conversation at the GRAMMY Museum® in LA.
When Pearce received her first CMA Awards Song of the Year and Musical Event nominations last September, then won Musical Event for her co-written “I Hope You’re Happy Now” with Lee Brice, she was finding her legs after the devastating personal loss of her longtime producer and champion busbee and the end of her marriage. From that pain, she created a song cycle that captured the emerging truth, confusion, emotions and ultimate walking away from the wreckage. Those in-the-heart-of-the moment songs netted the Taylor Mill, Kentuckian not only a 2021 CMA Awards Album of the Year nomination, but her first CMA Female Vocalist of the Year nod.
“All I could do was write my way through it,” confesses the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry, invited by no less than Dolly Parton to join the hallowed institution. “Sometimes when you don’t know what to do, you reach for a guitar and you go into your heart. Not only did I find my truth, but I think I returned to my roots. When you’re chasing a dream, you chase what works; when you chase your essence, you find out who you are. I think that’s why 29: Written in Stone needed to be written: for all the other people going through it, the rest of the story is how you will survive. You’ll emerge not just stronger, but brighter and more hopeful. But you can’t know that on ‘Day One,’ which is why that song exists.”
Teaming with award-winning songwriter/producers Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne, the trio scrapped away the pain, examined the frustration and sought the bedrock of the young woman who finished high school early to start singing six shows a day five days a week at Dollywood. Recognizing the hard Country and bluegrass underpinnings of her music, they recognized how to realize the soul of her musical roots.
“In a lot of ways, working with Josh and Shane was like coming home,” Pearce says. “They got me, where I’m from. When I wanted to write about how it felt like Loretta Lynn’s songs coming true in my life, we got a song out of it… And when I sang that song on the Opry, we got not just Patty Loveless, but the legendary Tony Brown to come in and work with us on ‘Dear Miss Loretta.’ I’ve learned that by putting the music first, everything else falls into place.”
With an appearance on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live on Wednesday, September 15, Pearce is taking all of her positive momentum forward to support her 15-song 29 expansion. Having had fans share over and over their own stories and thanking her for being willing to be honest in her meet & greets over the summer, the woman who also won the Academy of Country Music’s Single and Music Event of the Year this past spring for “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” takes joy in knowing these songs are lifting so many people up.
“At one point, our mantra was ‘What would Patty do?,’ and it seems for an album this personal, she would’ve found a woman writer who ‘got’ what it means to be 29, to face dead-end dating, the idea of wanting to be married, to be seeking her place in the world, but also find a love you can count,” Pearce says of the GRAMMY Museum® event. “So we decided to do just that. Woman-to-woman, hearts wide open, I’m going to dive into this music with Samantha Hissong, who has been to a few of these places, too.”