Holler Country Music

The Best Carly Pearce Songs

February 11, 2022 12:00 am GMT
Last Edited June 17, 2024 2:02 pm GMT

email logo
link icon

Link copied

Content Sponsor
Apple Music
Amazon Music
YouTube Music
Play Icon

Carly Pearce may be relatively young in her musical career, but she’s already accumulated a​ solid catalog of solid country classics.

Raised in Kentucky and laser-focused on one day playing the Grand Ole Opry since childhood, her country roots run deep.

No matter how high her star rises, she still impresses as an everywoman for our times - she just happens to have a wide-ranging, high-wattage voice equal to the diversity of emotion she’s willing to reveal.

Holler looks back at some of her best songs to date.

Big Machine Label group | 2024


“When I wrote this song, I knew I wanted this to be the title of the album," Carly says about the title track to hummingbird. "This song plays on my bluegrass roots but also lyrically tells the story of the journey I am on of finding love. This is the most unapologetically ‘Carly’ song I’ve ever written.”

Following her critically acclaimed third studio album 29: Written in Stone which dealt with emotional fallout from her marriage breakup, Carly was finding her feet and walking her way back to being herself again in this beautifully understated country folk song written with Jordan Reynolds, Nicolle Galyon and Shane McAnally.

Big Machine | 2020

Closer to You

The infectious opener to her sophomore effort, ‘Closer to You’ charms with its breezy enthusiasm about a new relationship. Poppy and danceable, a dobro solo keeps it in the country, while the sheer optimism contrasts to her catalogue of songs on the thornier aspects of love.

Big Machine Records | 2023

we don't fight anymore (feat. Chris Stapleton)

Written by Carly alongside frequent collaborator Shane McAnally and Pete Good, the first taste of her fourth album came in the form of this emotional sledgehammer, and who better to join her than the most soulful voice in country, Chris Stapleton.

“I’ve always wanted to write music that makes people feel something – whether that is feeling seen, less alone, happy or even uncomfortable," Carly said upon release. "This song felt like I was writing one of those stories that, whether or not we want to include it in our social media highlight reel, we’ve either been there or are living there right now. Having Chris Stapleton join me on this song was a dream come true and he unlocked an element to the story that I didn’t even know it needed.”

Big Machine | 2017

If My Name Was Whiskey

Addressing substance abuse, this standout from Carly’s debut describes the pain of loving someone with a drinking problem, elevating it above the standard drinking song and keeping us hooked with its catchy chorus.

Big Machine Label group | 2024

truck on fire

“Man may have discovered fire,” as Carrie says in Sex and the City, “but women discovered how to play with it.”

Carly seemed to be paying homage to the women of country that came before her on 'truck on fire,' nodding to imperious country divas like Lee Ann Womack and Carrie Underwood with this incendiary, sassy revenge country cut off hummingbird.

Carly's ex might be out of her life, but he won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, not now that Carly has set alight to his chevy Z71. That’s what you get for messing around behind her back though.

Where her previous album 29: WRITTEN IN STONE felt like a report from inside the storm, hummingbird documented Pearce’s cautiously hopeful steps toward healing and happiness, that next stage of the process, when you’re putting in the work to rebuild stronger than you were before and finding little moments of joy along the way.

Like setting fire to you duplicitous ex-husband’s truck.

Big Machine | 2017

Hide the Wine

The second single from 2017’s Every Little Thing is a fresh take on the perils (and potential pleasures) of drunk dialing. It also gives Carly an opportunity to pay homage to her bluegrass roots while revealing her sassy, sexy side.

Big Machine | 2021


The scathing lead-off track on 29: Written in Stone - the album that would help Carly win the 2021 CMA Female Vocalist of the Year Award – ‘Diamondback’ finds the singer taking her power back (while keeping that rock).

The song is at once defiant, determined, cutting and canny, while a brisk tempo underlines Carly’s intent to move on.

Big Machine Label group | 2024

my place

Carly had been teasing 'my place' out on the road in the run up to its release and it became an instant fan favourite. Turns out the song is one of Pearce’s personal favorites off hummingbird too.

"The song describes someone reckoning with the fact that their ex has moved on and is starting to build a new life without them," Carly says. "Instead of feigning indifference, Pearce acknowledges her insecurities and tries to keep putting one foot in front of the other."

“I wrote this song about a dream I had long before the relationship I was in ended, but I knew that it would," she explained. “It’s hard to watch people move on and realize your heart can’t live there anymore, but that realization is the beginning of the healing process.”

Carly Pearce - 29

Next Girl

From 29, ‘Next Girl’ finds Carly playing the role of the wiser, more experienced big sister, warning listeners off the bad boys, or at least trying to. Been there, done that, and “just tryna’ help the next girl”, she performs the neat trick of transmuting those bitter feelings into service.

Carly Pearce - 29

Should've Known Better

What elevates this song from good to great is the spare and incisive opening verse: “I am my mother's daughter / I watched her with my father / I saw it all, the good and bad / Should've known better than that.” Instantly relatable, it cuts to the quick of how hard it can be to transcend one’s familial patterns.

Carly Pearce - 29


“And everybody says you're only 29 / But I feel like I'm running out of time”, Carly sings, pitting the expectations of age against the harsh reality of failures along the road to maturity.

She’s fearless about revealing her own shortcomings and shattered dreams, baring her soul and weaving her losses into solid country gold.

Written with Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne, the song became the title track to her third album and led to nominations for album of the year at the ACM and CMA awards the following year.

Following her divorce, Carly was inspired to create the album which takes its name from Pearce's age at the time she decided to create the album.

Big Machine | 2021

What He Didn't Do

It was no secret that 29: Written in Stone was Carly’s post-divorce album, and fans hoping for a reveal of the who/what/whys of her split from Michael Ray found plenty to read between the lines in ‘What He Didn’t Do’.

Only Carly takes the high road and instead of delivering the dirt, penned a manifesto for the love she and everyone deserves: “Treat me right, put me first, be a man of his word / Stay home 'cause he wanted to / Always fight for my love, hold on tight like it's something / That he couldn't stand to lose”.

Big Machine | 2021

Dear Miss Loretta

If ‘Should’ve Known Better’ described the lessons daughters learn from mothers, ‘Dear Miss Loretta’ acknowledges the wisdom conveyed by the first women in country music, namely Loretta Lynn, whose tradition of singing the unvarnished truth with conviction Carly proudly carries forward (Carly had the temerity to debut the waltz at the Grand Ole Opry).

“A lifetime of pain was three minutes long / And you weren't ashamed / When the world sang along” takes on even more depth as Carly is joined by another trailblazing country artist, Patty Loveless, on the recording.

Big Machine Label group | 2024

fault line

The self-proclaimed country music purist, Carly's musical sensibilities were on full display with 'fault line' as she delivered a traditional country groove and clever lyrics penned alongside Nicolle Galyon, Shane McAnally, Jordan Reynolds.

“Some of my favourite songs were in the era of Tammy Wynette and George Jones,” said Carly. 'This is my take on writing one of those classic, ‘I'm gonna rip your head off’ country songs. The playful angst in this song makes it one of my favourite moments on the record.”

Big Machine | 2020

Dashboard Jesus

While she didn’t pen this quirky gem, ‘Dashboard Jesus’ could easily serve as Carly’s personal anthem.

“Everybody says she's dreamin' / Call her crazy for believin'” she sings on the soaring chorus with complete authenticity, echoing the years she stayed true to her dreams in the face of multiple rejections before she achieved mainstream success.

It’s no wonder she made a point of recording it once she broke through.

Big Machine | 2020

Show Me Around

A tribute to her mentor and producer busbee, who died tragically of brain cancer in 2019, Carly again strikes the right balance between deep sorrow and abiding faith on ‘Show Me Around.’ Bittersweetly imagining a reunion in the afterlife, the song shimmers with sadness and love.

Big Machine | 2020

It Won't Always Be Like This

‘It Won’t Always Be Like This’ is a near-perfect country ballad, evoking the rights of passage everyone goes through on the way to making a life, from leaving home for the first time to watching others live your dream, to struggling to make a place for oneself while living on a prayer. It checks all the right boxes, rendering the highly personal, universal.

Big Machine | 2017

Every Little Thing

Carly’s voice drips with vulnerability and knowing on her breakout track. Detail-rich and heart-piercing, anybody with a pulse who heard the song can relate to “the high, the hurt, the shine, the sting” that her voice conveys so very well.

Big Machine | 2020

I Hope You're Happy Now

This winning duet with Lee Brice from Carly’s self-titled sophomore effort - the song took home CMA 2020 Song of the Year honors - finds two exes loving one another despite their tears and diverging paths.

The pair wring out every ounce of guilt, regret and heartbreak with soaring vocals and convincing emotional weight.

Big Machine | 2021

Never Wanted to Be That Girl

Carly raised her already high bar for duets by teaming up with Ashley McBryde to tell the two sides to an oh-so- familiar cheating story. Only this time, the women are equal in their pain and regret, which coupled with their sensitive vocals, makes it that much more affecting.

Reminiscent of Reba McEntire and Linda Davis' classic duet, 'Does He Love You,' it's exhilarating to hear the two sides of the love triangle story that don't normally get air time together.

The song understandably won the Music Event of the Year at the ACM Awards and CMA Awards, as well as winning the award for Best Country Duo/Group Performance at the Grammy Awards in 2023.


Subscribe and listen to Holler's The Best Carly Pearce Songs playlist below above.

For more on Carly Pearce, see below:

Written by Deborah Crooks
Content Sponsor
Artist - Carly Pearce 1

LONG READCarly Pearce: A Country Star Reborn

Album - Carly Pearce - 29

Carly Pearce - 29

Album - Carly Pearce - 29: Written In Stone

Carly Pearce - 29: Written In Stone

Artist - Carly Pearce 1

INTERVIEWCuts The Deepest: Carly Pearce