Country singer/songwriter Brandy Clark self-released her first EP five years ago, and has since recorded a pair of acclaimed albums, 2013’s 12 Stories, which placed high on many critics’ year-end lists, and last year’s Big Day in a Small Town, which hit the top 10 of Billboard’s Country chart. That slender discography, which includes five singles pulled from her two albums, would seem to justify calling Clark a Nashville neophyte, but nothing could be further from the truth.
If you think you don’t know Brandy Clark’s work, there’s a better than average chance that you do, given that she’s been a Nashville songwriter since 2005 and has written or co-written for some of Country’s biggest names, including The Band Perry (“Better Dig Two”), Miranda Lambert (“Mama’s Broken Heart”), Kacey Musgraves (“Follow Your Arrow,” “Biscuits”), Reba McEntire (“The Day She Got Divorced”) and Keith Urban (“Come Back to Me”), among many others.
Clark was born in rural Washington just miles from Mount Saint Helens. She drew her earliest musical influences from her parents’ Country record collection, and applied those influences by learning guitar at age 9 and displaying her vocal talents in school musicals. In high school, Clark traded music for sports and attended Central Washington University on a basketball scholarship, but she returned home and enrolled in community college. At 23, Clark moved to Nashville to study in Belmont University’s commercial music program; upon graduation, she was hired at Leadership Music, which eventually resulted in her publishing deal.
Clark’s performing career took an upward trajectory in 2012 when she opened shows for Sheryl Crow and played alongside Marty Stuart at his Grand Ole Opry anniversary shindig. 12 Stories was released the following year, and 2014 saw Clark make her network television debut on Late Night with David Letterman and open for Jennifer Nettles’ solo tour. Brandy Clark’s songs are rich with questionable characters, dicey situations and seedy circumstances, but all are well-told stories with an unbeatable combination of razor wit, a novelist’s eye for detail and a whole lot of heart.