Photo Credit: Allister Ann
LAS VEGAS, NV (February 10, 2022) – Harnessing personal devastation into a cycle of songs that explored the pain of when and how things go wrong, Carly Pearce’s courage for finding truth has yielded some expected rewards. Reeling from a divorce she never wanted, a kismet pairing with producers Shane MacAnally and Josh Osborne laid the foundation for 29. Carly’s in-the-moment EP sorted out emotions that grew into 29: WRITTEN IN STONE, an album that bore witness to moving through the stages of loss to emerge hopeful.
29: WRITTEN IN STONE becomes Pearce’s first ACM Awards Album of the Year nomination and follows her CMA Awards nod as the only female in that category. Cited by TIME, Rolling Stone, Rolling Stone Country, The New York Times, Variety, NPR, Billboard and People, the deeply personal work served as a document to help other people – especially women – navigate the heartbreak of happily ever after falling apart.
“The people who’ve come up and told me what this album meant to them; how it helped at their lowest made me feel 29 was much more than my life,” Pearce says. “So this nomination, which blows me away, feels as much for anyone who’s found a shred of hope, or strength, or courage in even one of the songs.”
Pearce also received her second Female Artist nomination. Having come of age singing five shows a day at Dollywood, Pearce’s heart-on-her-sleeve vocal style has been connecting with fans of pure Country since her emergence with career-making, busbee-produced No. 1 “Every Little Thing.”
“Female Artist is, obviously, the thing every little girl dreams of,” the current CMA Female Vocalist of the Year explains. “All those years in the shows at Dollywood, you’d imagine… but maybe never truly dream… and to be nominated this year with Dolly hosting? It’s beyond a dream.”
And then there’s “I Never Wanted To Be That Girl,” Pearce’s duet with Ashley McBryde that picked up both Video and Music Event nods. The two women reckoning with themselves at the hands of the same unfaithful man struck as a chord with anyone who’s ever been done wrong. Ironically, Pearce’s “I Hope You’re Happy Now” duet with Lee Brice last year won both the Music Event and Single of the Year, demonstrating the power of Pearce’s unerring empathy for how people’s lives impact one another.
“In cheating, no one ever thinks about the two people harmed,” she begins. “It’s always about the person who did you wrong, or the person who led them astray. Ashley brings such a strong sense of all the people in a story, too, so this song was a natural thing to us – even though it’s rarely done, and never from a place of how bad being misled makes you feel. It’s a grown-up song, but it sure feels honest.”
For Pearce, who joined the Grand Ole Opry this year and will spend the summer on the road on Kenny Chesney’s entire Here and Now 2022 Tour, music remains her prime motivator. With The Tennessean praising her headline stop at the Country Music Hall of Fame during The 29 Tour, “her greatest accomplishment in 2021 may be bringing life to stories that strike an emotional chord loud enough for some showgoers to stand on their toes and shout along to each word – album cuts and all,” she continues looking forward.
Still the honors 29: WRITTEN IN STONE gathered shouldn’t be forgotten. Rolling Stone magazine awed, “she turned her grief and emotion into the instant-classic EP 29 (and the expanded version 29: WRITTEN IN STONE) chronicling that transitional age with courage, empathy and humor,” while The New York Times succinctly raved on its all-genre annual list, “A brief marriage, a. messy divorce, a helluva record” and TIME proffered, “an epic tale of heartbreak at the hands of a 21st Century Lothario.”
“When I get these calls, I almost don’t know what to say,” Pearce admits. “It always surprises me, because I know how good my peers are – and respect them so much. This been such a journey, and I take none of it for granted ever. Each one of these nominations means the world to me. Know that! Know how much all of this means…”