If you’re an avid country music fan, then you’ll know that Carly Pearce’s country music career has gone into overdrive. While the Taylor Mill, Ky. native has nabbed numerous awards and achievements over the last few years, the journey she’s trekked isn’t one for the faint of heart.
Prior to her earning her first No. 1 song in 2017, the bright-eyed Pearce moved to Pigeon Forge, Tenn. at 16 to perform at Dollywood regularly. She juggled the gig, which required her to perform five days a week, whilst being enrolled in an online academic program.
Later, at the age of 19, she mustered the courage to move to Nashville and pursue a full-time singing career. However, her road to present-day stardom was far from an overnight success. After losing a development deal with Sony Music Nashville in 2012, Pearce continued juggling odd jobs while pursuing her dream of singing country music as a career.
While in the early years of her residence in Music City, Pearce decided to send a cold email with her song demo to the Grand Ole Opry’s then Vice President and General Manager, Pete Fisher. Fortunately for the singer, he was impressed and soon offered her her 2015 Opry debut - a dream come true for the Kentuckian. Two years later, SiriusXM's The Highway took a chance on her and played her song “Every Little Thing.” In no time, multiple she was offered recording contracts and ultimately signed with Big Machine Label Group, her label home since.
Today, Pearce is the reigning CMA Female Vocalist of the Year and ACM Female Artist of the Year with three No. 1 hits, 1 RIAA-certified Double Platinum single, 1 RIAA Platinum single, and two RIAA Gold singles. On top of that, she is also a Grand Ole Opry member— another lifelong dream come true for the 32-year-old.
In this list, The Boot looks back at Pearce’s Top 10 songs across her three records. This includes both singles and album cuts. Find out where your favorites land!
"Dear Miss Loretta"From: '29: Written In Stone' (2021)
Pearce digs deep into her roots in this song. It features plenty of fiddle with an unabashed twangy delivery from the singer and her longtime idol (and country icon), Patty Loveless. “I ain't a coal miner's daughter / But my grandmother was / Must be whiskey in the water, must be bourbon in the blood / I'm a long way from Kentucky, but the hurtin's the same / Now I know why you sang that way,” Pearce pens in the chorus of her heartfelt letter to country royalty and fellow Kentuckian, Loretta Lynn.
"Hide the Wine"From: 'Every Little Thing' (2017)
This up-tempo number might be one of Pearce’s sassiest numbers yet. It’s even crowned her as one of country music’s go-to wine queens despite hailing from the bourbon state. “Better hide the wine and get it gone / I better hide every one of them records that turn me on (Lock 'em up, lock 'em up) / Turn up the lights and kill the mood / Because, baby, I just don't trust myself with you / I better hide the wine,” Pearce sings over an effervescent production. This has proven to be a crowd favorite at Pearce’s live shows, too.
"Next Girl"From: '29: Written In Stone' (2021)
This was the very first song released after her public divorce from Michael Ray. The twist on this breakup and indirect revenge song is refreshing. Pearce never once acknowledges the antagonist but instead, sings to the “next girl” he’s getting together with. There’s a sense of camaraderie between the women who will more than likely share a history of being duped by a charming sweet-talker.
"Diamondback"From: '29: Written In Stone' (2021)
As the old adage goes, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” and this holds true for Pearce. On the coruscating, fiddle-driven, and barnstorming anthem, she issues one hell of a kiss-off tune to her ex. She doesn’t want anything of his, except the very diamond she’s going to pawn for a fortune. “Take the bed where you used to lie / Keep the friends I never liked / And the happy ever after welcome mat / But you ain't gonna get this diamond back / No, never ever gettin' this diamond back / You can keep the dog and the Cadillac / But you ain't gonna get this diamond back,” declares Pearce in the empowering chorus.
"Never Wanted To Be That Girl"From: '29: Written In Stone' (2021)
Pearce’s latest No. 1 single tells the tale of two women who find out the painful truth that they’ve been dating a two-timing scumbag. Instead of fighting like the women in Reba McEntire and Linda Davis’ “Does He Love You,” they share mutual empathy for being duped and made “that girl” by a liar. “Being the other one when there's another one God, this feels like hell / Thought I knew who I was, but it's gettin' hard to tell / I never wanted to be that girl,” Pearce and Ashley McBryde sing regretfully in the chorus.
"Every Little Thing"From: 'Every Little Thing' (2017)
This intricately detailed ballad was Pearce’s first-ever single to hit No. 1 on the country charts. In the song, the singer broods over an ex who continues to haunt her with their vivid shared memories of the past. “The scent that you left on my pillow / The sound of your heart beating with mine / The look in your eyes like a window / The taste of your kiss soaked in wine,” she recalls in the opening verse.
"I Hope You’re Happy Now"From: 'Carly Pearce (2020)
This double Platinum hit truly captures the raw, forlorn emotions of a superb male-female country duet while also spotlighting Pearce and Lee Brice’s powerhouse vocals. “I hope you find what you were looking for / I hope your heart ain't hurting anymore / And you get moving on, all figured out / And you don't hate me somehow / 'Cause I hope you're happy now,” they belt harmoniously in the chorus. The song was written by Pearce, Randy Montana, Jonathan Singleton and country megastar, Luke Combs.
"It Won’t Always Be Like This"From: 'Carly Pearce' (2020)
This deep cut from Pearce’s sophomore album chronicles the woes of pursuing a passion-fueled journey ridden with more slammed doors than opportunities. Penned by Pearce, Natalie Hemby and Sam Ellis, this heart-rending tune serves as a reminder to all dream chasers to not give up on their journeys no matter how hard it gets. “I had big wings but didn't have a sky / Just a front-row view of everybody flying high / Waiting for my time, wish I could've told myself back then / It won't always be like this,” she reflects in hindsight. For those who resonate with this, check out “I Need A Ride Home,” a similar-themed song from her 2017 debut record.
"29"From: '29: Written In Stone' (2021)
“Twenty-nine is the year that I got married and divorced / Held on for dear life but I still fell off the horse / From a Miss to Mrs, then the other way around / The year I was goin' live it up / Now I'm never going to live it down,” sings a heavy-hearted, utterly disappointed Pearce. The pain of not matching up to society’s expectations can be overwhelming, and she isn’t afraid to share that with the world. Such plain-spoken and tear-soaked lyrics make “29” a standout deep cut from her releases thus far.
"What He Didn’t Do"From: '29: Written In Stone' (2021)
This soaring power ballad candidly chronicles the various shortcomings of Pearce’s ex. Instead of running “him out of this town,” she’s chosen to “take the high road” and let “the devil” stay hidden in the private details.
With its captivating lyrics and neotraditional instrumentation, this Ashley Gorley, Emily Shackleton and Pearce-penned song walks away as the crown jewel in her discography and is poised to be the biggest career hit of her career. And once its chart run is done, it will certainly take shape as a timeless heartbreak ballad, much like Patsy Cline’s “She’s Got You” and Tammy Wynette’s “D-I-V-O-R-C-E.”