by Jessica Nicholson
Carly Pearce has funneled the highs and lows she’s navigated over the past few years into a new seven-song project, 29, set for release on Feb. 19 via Big Machine Records.
Last year, Pearce scored her second No. 1 hit with the Lee Brice collaboration “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” which earned Pearce a CMA Song of the Year nomination and her first CMA win for Musical Event of the Year.
Those accolades were a balm for Pearce as she navigated the loss of her producer, busbee, who died in 2019. Pearce first collaborated with busbee on her breakthrough debut single “Every Little Thing,” which topped Billboard’s Country Airplay Chart and has since been certified Platinum. He also produced “I Hope You’re Happy Now.”
“Losing busbee was such a moment of upheaval,” Pearce said. “He had believed in me…carried me… brought me through everyone getting deals around me… because he knew something I couldn’t see: that it would happen.
“And then as we’re doing Lee Brice’s vocal on ‘I Hope You’re Happy Now,’ he has that first seizure, and my creative world started to unravel. It’s scary being out there on your own, and I think the response to the song… going platinum, being nominated for Song of the Year… That was a little bit of him telling me to stand tall, to walk forward, to know my life and my writing would carry my voice and my dream forward.”
That next step in the journey involved collaborating with writer/producers Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne, resulting in Pearce’s current single, the sassy warning “Next Girl.” Those co-writing sessions—equal parts creative swell and emotional transparency—inspired the seven songs on the new project.
“The best songs come from the moment, from real creative spark – and Josh and Shane bring it out of me,” Pearce said. “I was unsure where my music would be without busbee. They both know where my musical heart is, and they understand how to capture exact details for much larger truths. The more specific they write, the more people I think can see themselves in the songs.”
Pearce co-wrote every song on the project, collaborating not only with McAnally and Osborne, but also with writers including Emily Shackelton, Jordan Reynolds, and Old Dominion’s Matthew Ramsey.
“I feel lighter reflecting on the last year and pouring my soul into this music and wanted to share it in hopes that others will take from the songs what they need,” Pearce said. “With streaming and social media, we were able record music for the sole purpose of letting my fans know where my heart is without any expectations. That’s a kind of immediacy that makes making records really exciting. I can’t wait to share 29.”
See the track list for 29 below:
29 TRACK LIST
1. “Next Girl” | Carly Pearce, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
2. “Should’ve Known Better” | Carly Pearce, Jordan Reynolds, Emily Shackelton
3. “29” | Carly Pearce, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
4. “Liability” | Carly Pearce, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
5. “Messy” | Carly Pearce, Sarah Buxton, Jimmy Robbins*
6. “Show Me Around” | Carly Pearce, Emily Shackelton, Ben West
7. “Day One” | Carly Pearce, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne, Matthew Ramsey
Produced by Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne
*Produced by Jimmy Robbins