Earning such bold titles from critics as “country music’s most reliable character witness” (The Washington Post), “one of country’s driving forces” (TIME) and “the best songwriter in Nashville” (Garden & Gun), country singer Brandy Clark is wrapping what is arguably the biggest year of her career. In the last week, Clark has landed a pair of GRAMMY nominations, delivered a poignant performance of “Crazy Arms” with revered singer-songwriter J.D. Souther for A Tribute To The Music Of Linda Ronstadt, and released a captivating duet with YouTube sensation Sam Tsui on her latest single, “Love Can Go To Hell.” After its Top Ten debut in June, Clark’s Big Day In A Small Town reaped immense critical praise, quickly landing on multiple critics’ “Best Of 2016 So Far” lists including Rolling Stone, NPR, Stereogum and American Songwriter and ultimately garnering Clark her fifth and sixth career GRAMMY nods for Best Country Album and Best Country Solo Performance (“Love Can Go to Hell”).
Two of Clark’s more recent successes in a string of hard-won accomplishments this year include Big Day landing at No. 21 on American Songwriter’s Top 50 Albums of 2016 and No. 27 on Rolling Stone’s 50 Best Albums of 2016, lauding “her aching vocal performances and razor-sharp lyrics expertly articulating complicated, if all too common, human struggles.”
Clark released her robust sophomore album in June of this year as a follow up and self-proclaimed “cousin” to her highly successful and critically acclaimed 2013 debut album 12 Stories, which garnered Clark her second, third and fourth career GRAMMY nominations. Soon after Big Day’s release, Clark launched into a sold out run of shows in the United Kingdom as well as multiple stops in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and New York City.
“Over the past few years, Nashville-based songwriter Brandy Clark has written a slew of wildly popular songs that defy conventional wisdom of what makes a hit country tune. They have emerged out of what seems to be an effortless assembly line, but Clark’s work is far more than commercial product,” shared SALON Magazine’s Erik Nelson, who labeled Clark “The Raymond Carver of the Hot Country Charts.” “Like many Nashville songwriters, Clark often works with collaborators, yet the songs she contributes to always bear the mark of a true auteur, with lyrics that are smart bombs — maybe too smart — of description and narrative detail. (…) Her songs are simultaneously harrowing, cynical, uplifting and just plain funny.”
Armed with an acoustic performance that made CMT write, “few artists can make you feel the power of music quite like Brandy Clark,” the acclaimed singer/songwriter continued on a sequence of iconic endeavors, including a stirring performance earlier this month at A Tribute To The Music of Linda Ronstadt and re-releasing her beloved ballad “Hold My Hand” with legendary Dwight Yoakam, who performed the fan favorite with her at the 2015 GRAMMY Awards and shared, “There’s an elegant succinctness to how Brandy delivers what she sings.”
Clark has forged a name for herself as well as for women in country music. Upon being surprised with the inaugural Impact Award at CMT’s Next Women of Country event this year, CMT’s SVP of Music Strategy and Talent Leslie Fram shared, “She has accomplished so much [and has] been an amazing inspiration not only to CMT, but to all women.”
As 2016 nears its end, Clark reflects, “I really just want to write and sing songs that people find themselves in and felt like Big Day In a Small Town reflected real lives. BUT….you never really know until it’s out there and so all of this truly makes me feel validated. It also inspires me moving forward into 2017, to keep digging deep and telling real truths.”