Carly Pearce’s fourth studio album opens with an admission: “Country music made me do it, and I’ll do it till I die.” The award-winning singer-songwriter goes on to list a string of “its,” including taking it “way too far” and letting “the wrong boy” kiss her. Of course, it’s those very moments that Pearce so deftly documents, establishing herself as a major songwriting force in the genre with her evocative, often gut-wrenching accounts of hard times and heartache. On hummingbird, there is no shortage of such moments, though this follow-up to 2021’s 29: Written in Stone feels sonically lighter and more spacious than its predecessors, a vibe hinted at by the record’s delicate title. Pearce co-produced the LP alongside Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne, marking her first time in a producing role. Standouts include “things I don’t chase,” a slow-burn torch song for “the stubborn kind” of man Pearce just “don’t chase,” as well as the head-over-heels infatuation of “trust issues.” Chris Stapleton joins Pearce on the aching duet “we don’t fight anymore,” a ballad about a love whose spark is long burnt out. And Pearce closes the project with its title track, an image-rich accounting of memories that linger and haunt.

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