Country Music’s Carly Pearce is celebrating the release of her EP, “29” and will make her 80th appearance at the Grande Ole Opry in Nashville on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021.
“Every Little Thing” was the first song that Pearce ever wrote with Michael Busbee, her longtime collaborator and producer. They co-wrote what would become her biggest solo hit with Emily Shackelton. Rolling Stone said Busbee “shaped much of the musical structure and sparse arrangement of Pearce’s stately torch ballad, which became a Number One at country radio.”
“It’s almost uncomfortable stripped-down and I think in those moments, you’re left with the silence,” Pearce said at the time.
Busbee died in September 2019 at age 43, leaving a legacy of producing such songs as Keith Urban’s (featuring Carrie Underwood) “The Fighter,” Pink’s “Try,” and Maren Morris’ “My Church.”
In memory of Busbee’s passing Pearce took to social media to remember him with a video.
“I sang ‘every little thing’ tonight through broken tears with thousands of voices and cell phone lights in the air, because I asked them to raise them up high so you could see them shining from heaven,” she said. “What a beautiful sight it was. You gave my music a place in this world. I’ll cherish the 2 albums, songs, talks, laughs & memories we shared over the years. My heart is broken, but the legacy of your talents and your heart will live on in all of the artists and people you touched. I love you, Busbee.”
Like so many, Pearce has dealt with much torment during 2020 and coming back to the Opry is a cherished relief.
Busbee death and the pandemic “was an opportunity to get back to my roots.”
Even after 2020, Pearce thinks “the biggest overall thing for me is that I have still felt so connected to fans,” she said as she prepares for her Opry appearance. “And, ‘I Hope You’re Happy Now’ gave me a second Number One song on the charts. I couldn’t ask for much more.”
“I always dreamt of singing on the Opry,” Pearce reflects. “When I was 16, I wanted to sing at Dollywood, so I convinced my parents to let me audition and quit school to sing there.”
“I moved to Nashville in 2009 and had a typical overnight success,” she said. “I worked odd jobs and never gave up. And then in 2019, the Opry let me debut before I had anything really going on. It’s great that I’ve had the experience and support from the Opry from the beginning.”
If she could sing with any performer in the world, who would she pick?
“Dolly Parton! I think she’s been such a huge influence and working with her at Dollywood… she’s the ultimate leading lady of country music.”
“My inspirations? I think back to the late 90s women to Patty Loveless, Dixie Chicks, Lee Ann Womack, and so many more.”
“My grandmother who is no longer here, she was a special lady. And my mom is my best friend, who I admire very much. In music, there is only one Dolly! And the country women of the 90s, Jeannie Seely, Loretta Lynn, and just all of the ladies who have made a mark on country music.”
When asked by Rebecca Jensen Hensen from the Opry last week “what was the first time in the Circle like for you versus going into the 80th?,” Pearce replied:
“I love it! The biggest difference is that I wanted to throw up the first time. And now it feels like family — it’s comfortable, but I still get butterflies.”
“I definitely dress up more for a performance at the Opry,” she explained. “I take it really seriously and want to honor the history of the Opry. But I have fun with the looks, sometimes more purple, sometimes retro, sometimes fringe. Eddie Stubbs (who retired July 29, 2020 after being the host announcer at the Opry 25 for years) once told me that he appreciated that I dressed up for the Opry stage.”
Pearce talked about her new album, “29.”
“Well, 29 is a really pivotal year for everyone. You think certain things will turn out differently than they do, but you’re still hopeful about life. I think things happened that I didn’t think would happen and the music is a representation of those things.”
“Also, winning a CMA award really gave me the confidence that people want to hear what I have to say. And this is me!”
Excerpt of “29” review by SavingCountryMusic.com
For inspiration, Pearce has been playing back at the Listening Room Cafe in Nashville.
“It’s what I used to do back in the day to see what songs people liked. It’s all about where it all started and going back to my roots.”
“I think we’re really on a great trajectory of what’s to come and I’m just really proud to be one of the ladies in country music. I have seen such a change and a shift in the last few years and I’m happy to be a part of it.”
Her advice for young women aspiring to be in country music?
“Figure out who you are and never waiver from that. You have to out work the boys. And make sure that you know what you have to say and that it means something.”