On the eve of the biggest moment in her musical career, Carly Pearce just announced a new album and rolled out what just might be her most meaningful song yet.
The 31-year-old blossoming superstar will officially be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry tonight. This evening’s show will be her 85th performance on country music’s most historic stage.
Becoming a member of the Opry is one of the greatest honors a country musician can receive. Many singers get invited to perform at the Opry, but to actually be invited to become a member of the Opry is something most singers only ever dream about. As Pearce’s wildest dreams finally come true, it’s something she not only deserves, but it’s an accomplishment she earned through hard work and self determination.
Back in 2015 her song “Blame The Whiskey” stirred up national attention and gained her an invite to play at the Grand Old Opry for the first time. At the time she had yet to even sign her first record deal, but she expressed that performing on that stage was something she grew up dreaming about.
“Some kids dream of being a doctor and some kids dream of being an actor; I always dreamt of singing on the Grand Ole Opry.
Anyone who knows me would tell you that to realize I will be singing on the same stage, in the famous circle where my musical heroes have stood makes me feel overwhelmingly blessed.”
Now 6 years after she debuted there, her Grand Old Opry dreams are even bigger than she could have imagined thanks to those musical heroes that have recently helped bring her career full circle. For Pearce the journey to this moment started way earlier than the first time she sang at the Opry though. This moment has been more than 15-years in the making.
She was born and raised in Northern Kentucky, but at age 16 she dropped out of high school and moved to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, where she took a job performing at Dollywood, the theme park and resort founded by one of her musical heroes, Dolly Parton.
Given that her professional musical career began at Dollywood, it’s only fitting that Dolly Parton herself was the one to invite Pearce to officially become a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
Pearce thought she was filming a promotion for Dollywood and she was thrilled when Dolly showed up on the scene. She was even more thrilled once she realized the real reason Dolly was there.
“I heard her high heels coming down the hall and I freaked out. I thought, oh my gosh, she’s going to do this commercial with me. Surprise! Love it!”
But when Dolly started mentioning the Opry, Pearce realized that the moment might be more special than just a commercial for Dollywood.
“I was like, excuse me?
Why are you asking me about the Opry? And then she used the ‘O’ word with ‘you should be a member.’ And I was like, Dolly, if you’re not about to say what I think you’re going to say, I don’t know what I’m going to do to you.”
Dolly did indeed invite her to officially become a member of the Grand Old Opry though, and Pearce was overcome with emotion. Making it even more special is that the moment was all was caught on camera.
Dreams come true… sometimes even better than you dare to dream. I couldn’t be happier or more honored to be the newest member of the Opry.
Pearce has always had an uncanny ability as a songwriter to tap into her own experiences in a way that resonates with music fans on a personal level.
The authenticity of her two #1 radio hits “Every Little Thing” and “I Hope You’re Happy Now” is what makes the songs so special. Her willingness to be honest and vulnerable about her own life experiences is what makes her music so relatable and lyrically profound. Those two songs propelled her career into country the music scene’s brightest spotlights.
But just as her career was reaching new heights, her personal life came crashing down when her marriage ended last summer just 8-months after she took her vows. The divorce happened around the same time she lost her beloved producer to brain cancer.
Going through such an emotional roller coaster while in the public eye is something that most people would try to hide from. Something that would ruin a lot of people. But Pearce didn’t let the heartbreak and grief define her life. She instead used those experiences to refine her music in a way that has taken her career to another level.
The name for the collection of songs is based on a track she wrote about her own life experiences at the age of 29. She chose not to shy away from the messy parts of her life, and instead put them all out there in the open. The emotional depth of the lyrics has connected with other people more deeply than she ever expected and helped many of her fans find their own healing from life’s darker moments.
Also featured was the song “Next Girl,” which is currently climbing its way up the radio charts. The song not only addresses her own feelings of heartbreak, but serves as what she calls an anthem for women who have had their hearts put through hell by smooth talking slime balls that aren’t mature enough to handle an adult relationship.
While the message of the song could have been framed in a more somber way, Pearce’s sense of humor and positive attitude towards life even in the midst of chaos shines through in the both the lyrics and the music video.
Pearce then debuted the song “Dear Miss Loretta” on the Grand Ole Opry stage back in March and it immediately connected with her fans for the very same reasons that Loretta Lynn’s songs connected with her own fans.
Loretta made her name in the music industry by tackling tough topics and writing songs that addressed real life struggles and her own marital problems, which is something Pearce has tried to do with her music as well.
So now after having one of her inspirations, Dolly Parton, invite her to join the Grand Ole Opry, Carly Pearce has now debuted the studio version of a song she wrote about another one of her inspirations, Loretta Lynn, and she recorded it with Patty Loveless, also a major musical inspiration of hers.
The new song also coincides with the announcement of Pearce’s upcoming new album, 29: Written in Stone.
“So much has happened to me in the last year. The more my life unraveled, the more the songs lifted me up.
As the smoke cleared, and some unbelievable things started happening, I was writing even more truth and getting lifted up even higher.
And I realized, as much as 29 captured a moment, I wasn’t done with the story.”
1. “Diamondback” | Carly Pearce, Kelsea Ballerini, Tofer Brown, Shane McAnally
2. “What He Didn’t Do” | Carly Pearce, Ashley Gorley, Emily Shackelton
3. “Easy Going” | Carly Pearce, Natalie Hemby, Josh Osborne
4. “Dear Miss Loretta” (featuring Patty Loveless) | Carly Pearce, Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally
5. “Next Girl” | Carly Pearce, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
6. “Should’ve Known Better” | Carly Pearce, Jordan Reynolds, Emily Shackelton
7. “29” | Carly Pearce, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
8. “Never Wanted To Be That Girl” (featuring Ashley McBryde) | Carly Pearce, Shane McAnally, Ashley McBryde
9. “Your Drinkin’, My Problem” | Carly Pearce, Nicolle Galyon, Sasha Sloan, Ben West
10. “Liability” | Carly Pearce, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
11. “Messy” | Carly Pearce, Sarah Buxton, Jimmy Robbins
12. “Show Me Around” | Carly Pearce, Emily Shackelton, Ben West
13. “Day One” | Carly Pearce, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne, Matthew Ramsey
14. “All The Whiskey In The World” | Carly Pearce, Jordan Terry Minton, Jordan Reynolds, Emily Shackelton
15. “Mean It This Time” | Carly Pearce, Jordan Terry Minton, Jordan Reynolds, Emily Shackelton
“Dear Miss Loretta” might just be Carly Pearce’s most powerful song yet. It’s a musical tribute to a true country music legend that she recorded with another country music legend.
Pearce, Loveless, and Lynn all share an ability to turn painful life experiences into beautiful works of art that help other people navigate tough circumstances in their own lives. All three women are also from Kentucky as well, and it’s evident that those connections make the musical bond they all now share even more genuine.
It’s exemplified best through the lyrics of the song:
“…Dear Miss Loretta, I ain’t ever met ya But I’m lonely tonight and I just betcha You might have some wisdom to pull off that shelf Your songs were all fun ‘til I lived them myself
I ain’t a coal miner’s daughter But my grandmother was Must be whiskey in the water Must be bourbon in the blood I’m a long way from Kentucky But the hurtin’s the same Now I know why you sang that way
Oh what ended up tough I started out broken What ended up lost I started out hopin’ A lifetime of pain was three minutes long And you weren’t ashamed When thе world sang along…”
Just how special this culmination of events is for Pearce is something that’s not lost on her as she prepares for the biggest moment of her musical career, because it is the the appreciation she has for the female musical pioneers that paved the way for her coupled with her own groundbreaking abilities as a songwriter that have opened these doors for her.
“To hear Patty Loveless sing your words, there’s no way to describe that sensation.
Her voice is Appalachia, those mountains and hollers are country music. To think, a year ago, I was asking myself, ‘What would Patty Loveless do?’ thinking about all her songs, how smart and sassy she always was… and now she’s on one of mine.”
Though she may have had to sail through some pretty rough waters to get where she’s now at in her life, it’s safe to say that Carly Pearce has hopefully finally found the happiness she seems to have been looking for in her own songs.
29: Written In Stone is due out on September 17th.