Singer/songwriter Brandy Clark moved to Nashville 20 years ago determined, like many before and after, to make a mark on the city’s Country music landscape. After more than a decade of assorted live gigs and multiple false starts, Clark finally began making inroads on Music Row via her sharp, uncommonly incisive songwriting chops, crafting tunes for the likes of Sheryl Crow, Miranda Lambert, Reba McEntire, The Band Perry, LeAnn Rimes and Kacey Musgraves.
Clark’s success writing for others led to the re-ignition of the Washington state native’s own singer/songwriter ambitions. She recorded her full-length debut, 12 Stories, with the help of producer Dave Brainard (and backing vocals from Vince Gill) in 2011, but it took nearly two years before a label, Slate Creek, agreed to distribute it. The album drew critical praise — ace NPR critic Ann Powers had it as her No. 1 album of 2013 — and for good reason: Clark’s wit-infused songs are as detailed and evocative as short stories, most of which center on the everyday lives of blue-collar strivers and/or survivors. Her reward? At nearly 40 years old, she garnered a “Best New Artist” Grammy nomination and the admiration of all but the most cynical Nashvillian.
Her 2016 follow-up, Big Day in a Small Town, was nearly as impressive, featuring 11 songs with titles that are anything but obtuse: “You Can Come Over,” “Love Can Go to Hell” and “Three Kids No Husband.” A live album, the aptly named Live in Los Angeles, followed in April 2017, and Clark is no doubt in the midst of writing her next full-length. In the meantime, she is taking her growing songbook on tour, a listener experience even more intimate and rewarding than Clark’s recorded output.
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