Carly Pearce: 5 Songs That Shaped the Songwriter

by Jim Casey

Since announcing her arrival on the country music scene with her 2017 debut album, Every Little Thing, Carly Pearce has been a vocal force. But she’s also been a force with her pen. Not only did Carly co-write her 2017 chart-topper, “Every Little Thing,” but also she co-penned her 2020 No. 1 hit, “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” from her self-titled sophomore album.

In February, Carly released a new seven-song EP, 29. Guess what? She co-penned every track, including the lead single, “Next Girl,” which is currently Top 30 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart.

Carly Pearce sat down with Outsider’s Jim Casey to reveal what songs are on her playlist, while we crank up the volume to her tracks… Let’s find out where this Kentucky native gets her songwriting inspiration with her 5 Songs That Shaped the Songwriter:

1. ‘Jolene’ – Dolly Parton

Carly Pearce: “This song inspires me as a songwriter because of its simplicity. Sometimes as a writer, you want to over-complicate a lyric. When in reality, the best thing you can do is keep it as direct as possible. Dolly is literally pleading in this song for Jolene to not take her man, and you feel that in every line.”

2. ‘Cowboy Take Me Away’ – The Chicks

Carly Pearce: “This song is a great representation of when the lyric is just as strong as the melody. And to me, that is the perfect recipe for a great song. When I listen to this song, the lyric takes me somewhere and the melody takes me somewhere, equally. That is a special thing.”

3. ‘Strawberry Wine’ – Deana Carter 

Carly Pearce: “This song still sounds as fresh and current as it did when it came out, over 20 years ago. When I listen to it, it inspires me to try to write songs as timeless as this one. It is so iconic to me.”

4. ‘The Bees’ – Lee Ann Womack

Carly Pearce: “This song inspires me as a songwriter because of the feel. Obviously, it’s a great song lyrically, but there is something so hypnotizing about the way this song grooves that makes me want to listen to it over and over.”

5. ‘Slow Dancing in a Burning Room’ – John Mayer

Carly Pearce: “This song inspires me because of its honesty. The heartbreaking imagery that John uses to describe exactly how he feels in this moment in time is so special. I think this will forever be one of my favorite songs of all time.”