Following a hugely successful 2022, Carly Pearce is looking back at the pain and space in which she wrote her critically acclaimed album – 29: Written in Stone – with a joyful celebration of the record, recorded Live from Music City and featuring some special guests. The live album is out this Friday here.
29: Written in Stone wasn’t just a moment in Carly Pearce’s career, but a kind of resurgence in an old-school country sound. It was a pivotal record that changed Pearce’s career and turned her pain into pure magic. Now, she creates a love letter to that album and to the fans who supported it, with the release of a live album 29: Written In Stone (Live from Music City) that shines a light on her sublime vocals and adds another flavour to the record.
There’s an intimacy provided in a live album that Pearce has really tapped into, and a shared knowledge of just what these songs have meant to her fans has only sought to amp up the emotion with which they are received in their live rendition – the anger is pumped up a notch on ‘Diamondback’ with a thicker, raspier growl added to her vocals, amidst a cacophony of clapping, whereas ’29’ is stripped back, full of vulnerability, as is ‘Should’ve Known Better,’ where the band take a back step to allow the power of her vocal to come to the fore, as they do on the acapella intro on ‘Easy Going.’
Live albums can easily be passed by, but there is something electrifying about them, if given their due and attention, where the crowds and fans who have followed the artist’s career act as another voice on the record. Nowhere is this more evident than on ‘What He Didn’t Do,’ where the audience scream back the line ‘I could run him out of this town,’ with a righteous anger. It shows the lives the album touched and the massive reception to the album of people who related to Pearce’s lyrics.
Given the context in which the album was released and its consequent overwhelmingly positive reception, there is a degree of hope and joy in the live rendition that was backgrounded on the studio version, where Pearce largely bore her pain. ‘Next Girl’ in the live retelling is a riotously fun, honkytonk perfection and ‘I Hope You’re Happy Now’ – the gorgeous duet with Lee Brice, sees her find inner peace.
More than anything, this record proves that Pearce is a star – one who is almost better in the raw, unvarnished live retelling than in the more polished studio record. A star who has her audience and fans mesmerised by her vocal and lyrical abilities, as she prepares for the next musical chapter.