Her voice is great, the lyrics are beautifully written, production is tight but not overdone, and the features of Ashley McBrydeand Patty Loveless are great. All of this is true.
But it’s also so much more than that.
It’s a blueprint for what the future of country music should be.
So often artists, even the great ones, are singing songs that don’t really mean a whole lot to them. The songs could be remarkably sad, lyrically clever or a unique, new idea, but still have a thing that’s missing.
That thing is real-life experience.
Anyone can read the words someone wrote, hell they could have written it themselves, but if they weren’t the one to walk in on their husband cheating, woke up to their woman crying after finishing a bottle, left a girl behind, or lost a loved one, than the songs just don’t connect the same as if they had.
Carly Pearce just lived what most people would agree is a nightmare.
Thousands, maybe millions, of people trying to dig into her failed marriage, pressing for quotes, running with gossip, looking for a smear or at least for “who was in the wrong.” A normal break-up is awful, add in the whole world wanting to know the details and it’s enough to drive someone crazy and make them run the other way.
So what did she do? Try to escape the noise? Put out some fun, party songs to get people talking about something else, about how well she’s doing and how fast she was able to move on?
She leaned in.
Said bring on the talk, bring on the questions. I felt the hurt, the lonely, the longing, and sometimes still do. I was mad, I was sad, I was somewhere in between. I cried to myself, drank alone, went out with friends and drank with them.
Then she took everything she felt, every emotion, every feeling, every “I should have done this” and “I wish he did that” and turned it into by far her best record, and probably the best record of the year.
There’s real life behind the words when she says…
“The devil’s in the details, I won’t tell
The hell that he put me through
All I know is in the end, it wasn’t what he did, no
It was what he didn’t do“
“The year I was gonna live it up Now I’m never gonna live it down”
“Couple of texts I wish I hadn’t sent But at the time Had a good buzz and it felt innocent”
“I wish I knew a way to skip over the pain, but I don’t There’s no way to say how long it’ll take ‘Til the damage comes undone All I can do is try to get through day one”
It’s the real deal, and it’s how more artists should make music.
Not everyone goes through a public divorce, I get that, but every person has struggles. Everyone experiences loss and sadness, feels lonely at times, goes from flying high to in the dumps. Artists should dig into that.
I know some are already doing it, I know. I’m saying more should, because it’s pretty obvious that those are the songs and albums and artists that connect to fans way deeper than the rest.
Carly Pearce is not just a rising star who is set up to headline the future of Country Music.