Midway through her 90-min set list, the reigning CMA/ACM Female Vocalist of the Year, 32, invited good friend and collaborator Kelsea Ballerini, 29, to the stage. Together the pair paid a rocking tribute to ‘90s country music, turning out a cover of The Chicks’ smash hit “Cowboy Take Me Away” from their 1999 album, Fly.
Pearce took to her TikTok page to commemorate the special moment, writing, “Love you @kelseaballerini ❤️ #cowboytakemeaway #countrymusic.”
She also included a video from the duet performance.
Onstage, Pearce stunned in an orange-colored floor-length gown alongside her pal Ballerini who donned a white dress featuring an open back. The pair swapped vocals on the hit before joining together in effortless harmonies.
“I said, cowboy take me away / Fly this girl as high as you can into the wild blue / Set me free, oh, I pray / Closer to heaven above and closer to you / Closer to you,” they delicately sang throughout the chorus of the catchy chart-topper.
Turns out Ballerini was the perfect candidate to be tasked with singing the song. She previously performed “Cowboy Take Me Away” solo while on her headlining Heartfirst tour, which wrapped on Oct. 14, in Mashantucket, CT, following a ten-date run.
Pearce and Ballerini are no strangers to singing songs together. Pearce previously contributed vocals on Ballerini’s current album, Subject to Change. The Kentucky native appears on the album’s twelfth track, “You’re Drunk, Go Home,” alongside Ballerini and Kelly Clarkson.
“I felt that there’s some sass and comedy to this song,” Ballerini previously told Billboard of why she chose to include Pearce on the three-person cut. “So I thought, ‘Who are the women in my life that are artists that have both of those things?’ Carly and I have been friends for, like, 10 years, before either of us had anything going on, and we’ve just seen each other personally and professionally through so many seasons of life. We’ve always wanted to do a song together, and this made sense.”
the two bitches are left 🙃 @Carly Pearce
The pair’s friendship is so tight, their time in the studio resulted in a fun, girls’ night.
“After she did her lead parts, we did like a … we called it s–t-talk track,” Ballerini added. “… For literally three and a half minutes, through the whole song, we just talked s–t and the whole track in there, it’s just really pushed down [in the mix]… Kelly also sent in some funny stuff, like the part of the song where she goes, ‘Um, Byeee!’ We just wanted to match that energy, because we had Kelly’s track already and wanted to match that energy and her personality. Carly and I are such good friends that it was funny to just be like, ‘All right, let’s go off.’”
Along with “Cowboy Take Me Away,” Pearce’s performance at the Ryman also included songs like “Diamondback” and “What He Didn’t Do” from her breakup album, 29: Written In Stone, which followed in the aftermath of her divorce from Michael Ray. She also performed songs from her other two albums, Every Little Thing and Carly Pearce. Aside from Ballerini, the concert included opener Mountain High and Brooks & Dunn’s Ronnie Dunn as a special guest.
In 2023, Pearce will take the road as part of Blake Shelton’s Back To The Honky Tonk Tour with fellow opener Jackson Dean. The trek kicks off on Feb. 16 in Lincoln, NE. In the meantime, fans can look for Pearce at the 2022 CMA Awards, where she will join forces with Ballerini again for a live debut performance of “You’re Drunk, Go Home” with Clarkson.
The upcoming 56th annual CMA Awards will air live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena Wednesday (Nov. 9) at 7:00 pm. CT on ABC.