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Carly Pearce on ‘the redemption’ in her emotional new album ’29’

todayMarch 1, 2021

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In experiencing the most grueling year of her life, Carly Pearce delivered some of the best music of her career. 

Her new album “29” chronicles the year this Kentucky-raised country singer-songwriter “got married and divorced,” as Pearce sings in the title track — an honest, and ultimately hopeful, collection of songs that tackle grief, heartbreak and the messiness of moving on. 

Pearce released “29” Friday via Nashville label Big Machine. She will celebrate the release Saturday with a performance at the Grand Ole Opry

“I look at (29) as the hardest year of my life, the most unexpected year of my life but also that moment that brought me completely to my knees … and made me so much better,” Pearce, 30, told The Tennessean, part of the USA TODAY Network. “Better for myself, better for my friends, better for my family. Better for the guy that deserves my love. And better for every aspect of my life.” 

Read on for highlights from a Tennessean interview with Pearce about writing the new record, connecting with listeners and paying tribute to late producer Busbee. 

On redemption music 

The record opens with “Next Girl,” a upbeat warning for those who may venture down a path Pearce previously traveled. Her sharp pen and songwriting sensibilities weave a cautionary tale. 

Country recording artist Carly Pearce released her new record, "29," on Feb. 19, 2021.

In a chorus backed by rolling snare and slide guitar, she sings: “He knows how to say all the right things/ Knows how to get you outta that dress/ Knows how to make you think you’re the best thing/ But I know what happens next, girl.” 

The album continues with Pearce singing about heartache in hindsight on “Should’ve Known Better.” She outlines deception on smooth, pop-tinged track “Liability” and reminds listeners that “heartbreak isn’t sexy” in the slate-clearing “Messy.” 

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