Carly Pearce has officially dropped her brand new album, hummingbird. Featuring 14 tracks, the collection, which arrived on Friday (June 7) via Big Machine Records, follows the Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter’s critically acclaimed third studio album, 29: Written In Stone.

Hummingbird Follows 29: Written In Stone

It’s been three years since the release of 29: Written In Stone, an extension of Pearce’s 2021 EP. And, in a world where artists are releasing albums at record pace — Pearce went a different way, instead, allowing her previous body of work to breathe a little longer. Now that she’s embarking on a new musical chapter, she humbly reflects on how she got to this point in the first place.

“I think that album [29: Written In Stone] just showed me how strong I am,” Pearce, 34, shares in an exclusive interview with Music Mayhem. “It showed me that people accept me for me and that I don’t have to hide my story, and my story has purpose.”

A lot of life has happened, and a lot of therapy has happened,” she acknowledges of the past few years. “A lot of healing has happened, and a lot of joy has happened.”

Before seeking therapy, Pearce was thrown a handful of curveballs that included having to carry the weight of grief following the death of her former producer Busbee and simultaneously being forced to navigate a public divorce from her ex-husband, country singer Michael Ray. She unpacked her emotions in 15 songs, offering 29: Written in Stone, earning her third top hit with “Never Wanted to Be That Girl,” a duet with Ashley McBryde, and a solo smash with “What He Didn’t Do.”

Carly Pearce, Photo Courtesy of Allister Ann
Carly Pearce, Photo Courtesy of Allister Ann

Album Title Symbolizes Growth

Getting to the other side of the pain ultimately led to the idea of hummingbird — a title which, for Pearce, symbolizes “themes of growth, humility, understanding, playfulness, and optimism.”

“A lot of people say that seeing a hummingbird is a sign that the healing process can begin and that good luck is on the way,” Pearce explains. “That absolutely, felt like the sentiment of where I have been and where I am as I let this little album out to the world.” 

Rebuilding Her Strength And Finding Light After Darkness

Unlike 29: Written In Stone, which carried fans with her into the storm, hummingbird finds Pearce rebuilding her strength and seeing brighter days as she lets loose and shows off her spunky side, illustrated in songs like, “Heels Over Head,” “woman to woman,” “Rock Paper Scissors” and “Truck On Fire.”

“’Rock Paper Scissors’ is kind of what it is, you know, I love a good play on words, and I love that at this stage in my life, I can poke fun at my life and with the things that have happened,” Pearce discusses of the Nicolle Galyon and Jordan Reynolds co-penned song before crediting how her successors incorporated a sense of humor and wit into their lyrics. “I think Loretta Lynn did that better than anybody, and Dolly Parton does it pretty well. You have gotta just laugh at whatever God has given you, and so this is my as a songwriter, just a proud moment, just the playfulness and play on words of ‘Rock Paper Scissors,’ and it feels like a little bit of a bluegrass moment, which I love. It’s going to be a fun one to play live.”

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In “truck on fire,” which playfully takes aim at a cheating ex with arson, Pearce says,I wrote this as an anthem for girls. I think we all have big dreams and fantasies of messing with the things that the guys that hurt us love the most. So I decided “liar, liar pants on fire” is the saying, but how about “liar, liar truck on fire?”

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Details Her Journey To Happiness

Pearce also leaves room for heaviness as she carefully documents her road to healing and happiness. That is shown in tunes like, “oklahoma” and “pretty please.” She also notes how difficult it was to write “My Place,” which she co-penned alongside Lauren Hungate and Jordan Reynolds. The song focuses on the healing process in the aftermath of a breakup, despite seeing someone else occupying the space she was once filled.

“It’s one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written, and I think that it’s hard to write because it’s one of those that is just so honest and so vulnerable,” Pearce explained of the song, which concluded the record’s list of advance tracks: “country music made me do it,” “we don’t fight anymore,” the title track, and “fault line.”

Pearce continued, “I think a lot of us deal with the evilness of social media. What I mean by that is, having to see your exes move on is a little difficult at times, and those initial moments where you’re seeing them live out this life that maybe you thought that you were going to live out with them can be hard, but it’s also a beautiful thing to get to this place where you realize that even though there are insecurities there and even though it doesn’t feel great, it’s not yours anymore and that’s OK.”

“I think there are songs that maybe are more personal in the moment to me than others, and I think that’s a great example of one that was just hitting home as we were writing it and as it was being recorded,” she added.

Carly Pearce, Photo Courtesy of Allister Ann
Carly Pearce, Photo Courtesy of Allister Ann

Keeping The Classic Country Sound Alive

From a sonic standpoint, Pearce doesn’t venture into uncharted territory on hummingbird. Instead, she leans deeper into the classic country sound that she has always been known for and that her fans love. Noting influences like Alison Krauss and Union Station, Patty Loveless, Loretta Lynn, The Judds, and the advice she received from Wynonna throughout the few years, it’s women like that who she attributes to helping build her love of the genre. 

“It’s what made me want to be a part of this country music family,” the 34-year-old Kentucky native insists before adding, “I think that it’s my duty to make sure that we don’t lose that charm of why country music is who it is and what it is and I just don’t think I would be authentically myself if I don’t have those little influences that kind of bridge the gap of classic with contemporary.”

And, while Pearce says she would love to one day work with Krauss and Union Station, her dream collaboration has already come to fruition with the GOLD-certified, Grammy nominated hit, “we don’t fight anymore,” featuring Chris Stapleton. Pearce and Stapleton were able to combine vocals for the song thanks to the help of Stapleton’s wife, Morgane. 

“I just DM’ed his wife on Instagram,” Pearce says of turning the collaboration into reality. “I love her, and I’ve been a fan of her for a long time in Nashville, I just thought I’d shoot my shot, and I did, it’s been such a joy to get to sing with somebody who is just one of the greatest singers of all time.”

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Recorded One Song That Was An Outside Cut

Elsewhere on the album, Pearce delves into one area of expertise. She got her feet wet on the production side, working alongside her producers, Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne, on “Things I Don’t Chase” – a tune that offers a lessons-learned approach on a broken heart and is the sole outside cut on the project. 

“That’s the only one that I didn’t write,” Pearce recalls of the strategically placed tune, written by Robyn Dell’Unto, Kat Higgins, and Ava Supplesa. “I think sometimes songs just find us right when we need them, and I’ve always been open to outside songs but wanted to make sure that I believed every line [and] I feel like this song was meant for me to hear at this time. I also think that my fans need to know that you shouldn’t chase somebody that doesn’t feel the same [way as you do].”

Co-Produced The Project

Having already lent a hand on the production side in past projects sets things in a forward motion even more for Pearce’s musical future.

“I have always loved production and have always been somebody who wanted to know all the ins and outs because I am such a music fan. So it finally was the right time to do that, and I had a pretty big hand in all of that, really with 29, and in this album. It’s just been a joy to bring some of those ideas in my head to life,” she shares. “I think it just opens up your brain to how you want your records to sound. Taking that kind of ownership into who you are as an artist is really powerful. I feel like I’ve gotten there in the last few records and think as time goes on, it will probably become more and more of something I’ll be involved in.”

Pearce adds, “I think, I’m really finding myself in these last two records, so there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to explore outside of that. I want to build off of that.”

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What Carly Pearce Hopes Fans Will Take Away From Hummingbird

Ruminating over what she’s gone through and settling into where she has landed with hummingbird, Pearce is hopeful as she offers a message of optimism for what she hopes fans will take away from hummingbird

“I think that there is a lot of light after darkness and you don’t have to have it all figured out to be happy,” she shares. “Your journey can look very different than maybe society says it should and what age you are, or whether you are, you know, are married or not or 34 or 24, you can just be you and own that and you can find joy after hard seasons.” 

Pearce, who says she’s already looking ahead to writing and setting her sights on a big tour announcement because “you can’t put out an album and not do something big,” is currently on the road as direct support on all dates of Tim McGraw’s Standing Room Only tour. On Sunday, (June 9), she took a break from that tour for a show at Nissan Stadium, as part of CMA Fest in Nashville, Tennessee. Ahead of her performance, Pearce hosted a special hummingbird edition of her third annual Carly’s Closet charity event, benefitting the CMA Foundation.

Carly Pearce 'hummingbird' Album Art
Carly Pearce ‘hummingbird’ Album Art

hummingbird Track List

1.     “country music made me do it” | Written by Carly Pearce, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne

2.     “truck on fire” | Written by Carly Pearce, Justin Ebach, Charles Kelley

3.     “still blue” | Written by Carly Pearce, Natalie Hemby, Josh Osborne

4.     “heels over head” | Written by Carly Pearce, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne

5.     “we don’t fight anymore” featuring Chris Stapleton | Written by Carly Pearce, Pete Good, Shane McAnally

6.     “rock paper scissors” | Written by Carly Pearce, Nicolle Galyon, Jordan Reynolds

7.     “oklahoma” | Written by Carly Pearce, Nicolle Galyon, Shane McAnally, Jordan Reynolds

8.     “my place” | Written by Carly Pearce, Lauren Hungate, Jordan Reynolds

9.     “things I don’t chase” | Written by Robyn Dell’Unto, Kat Higgins, Ava Supplesa

10.   “woman to woman” | Written by Carly Pearce, Tofer Brown, Lauren Hungate

11.   “fault line” | Written by Carly Pearce, Nicolle Galyon, Shane McAnally, Jordan Reynolds

12.   “pretty please” | Written by Carly Pearce, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne

13.   “trust issues” | Written by Carly Pearce, Nicolle Galyon, Jordan Reynolds

14.   “hummingbird” | Written by Carly Pearce, Nicolle Galyon, Shane McAnally, Jordan Reynolds

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Melinda Lorge is a Nashville-based freelance writer who specializes in covering country music. Along with Music Mayhem, her work has appeared in publications, including Rare Country, Rolling Stone Country, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine, Wide Open Country and more. After joining Rare Country in early 2016, Lorge was presented with the opportunity to lead coverage on late-night television programs, including “The Voice” and “American Idol,” which helped her to sharpen her writing skills even more. Lorge earned her degree at Middle Tennessee State University, following the completion of five internships within the country music industry. She has an undeniable love for music and entertainment. When she isn’t living and breathing country music, she can be found enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.

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