After Busbee’s Death, Carly Pearce Had a Moment Where She Didn’t Want to Release Her Album
The day that Carly Pearce first brought "It Won't Always Be Like This" into the studio, she and her collaborators knew that the song was special. The last song she wrote for her self-titled sophomore album, "It Won't Always Be Like This" was the product of the final day of a week-long block or writing sessions that Big Machine Label Group's Scott Borchetta and Allison Jones booked for Pearce, in hopes of getting the "one really true Carly song" that they felt like her new album was still missing.
Though Pearce admits she went into those writing sessions not entirely sure kind of song that "really true Carly song" would be, the reaction in the studio to "It Won't Always Be Like This" made it clear that she'd found it.
One of the people most profoundly affected by the song was producer and songwriter Busbee, who was working on her new album and had been a close collaborator for Pearce ever since he and Emily Shackleton co-wrote her breakout hit, 2017's "Every Little Thing."
"I remember Busbee saying to me, 'This song is so special,'" Pearce told the crowd at her album release show on Tuesday (Feb. 11.) "He shared with all of us that he had been going through some things with his brother, and they were rekindling their relationship, and he started crying. Little did I know then that this song was gonna take on another meaning for me, that I wouldn't get to record with him again."
Busbee died in September of 2019 after a short battle with an aggressive form of brain cancer, leaving behind his wife, Jessie, and three children. He was just 43 years old, and Pearce's new album was the last full project that he worked on before his death.
"A huge part of this record is Busbee, and Busbee turned this record in ten days before we found out he was sick," Pearce recounted from the stage. "As I have been working with him, he has become part of my family. I can't really put into words the amount of emotions I feel just putting this record out, and to be quite honest with you, I had a moment where I didn't want to put it out.
"Because I didn't really know what music looked like without him," she went on to say. "He taught me so much about owning who I am as a songwriter, as an artist. He pushed me to the point that I hated him at times. But he really felt like this record was gonna take me to the next level, and I just feel grateful for the time that I got with him."
Ultimately, Pearce says, she knew that putting out Carly Pearce was the best way she could honor Busbee's memory. "I feel like it's my duty to carry on his legacy, and be just a small part that gets to keep these songs going and just cherish these little moments of music that he created," she explained.
The singer then called Busbee's wife, who had flown into Nashville for the album release show, to the stage to present her with a special, framed poster of the album's liner notes. "I dedicated this record to Busbee, and I want to give you this," Pearce said. "I had this made for you and the girls, just because I know this is the last full record that he made, and he changed my life, and so did you guys.
"I'm grateful to know you, and grateful to have you in my life. I love you," the singer said, struggling to hold back tears.
As she prepared to play the show-closing "Every Little Thing" in Busbee's honor, Pearce jokingly admitted that it was tough not to let her emotions get the best of her.
"I'm really setting myself up to fail with this song," she told the crowd with a laugh. "Emily [Shackleton] and I got to celebrate our first No. 1 with Busbee, and Busbee changed our lives with those song.
"I remember the night I found out, 20 minutes before a show, that he had passed away, and I had to go onstage," she continued. "I was very honest with the crowd and told them what had happened, and tried to put into a few sentences what this person had meant to me. It was such a spiritual moment to see all those cell phone lighters go up -- because I wanted [the crowd] to raise them for Busbee in heaven -- and to think about the power of music, and the ways that we keep people alive."
In the wake of Busbee's death, she added, "Every Little Thing" is another song that has a whole new, and greater, meaning. "I forever want each and every one of you to listen to this record and hear Busbee's heart in it, because his heart was all over this. I will forever, ever be grateful to Busbee," Pearce said.
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