You’ll rarely see Carly Burruss without heels and a bandana tied around her neck. Her sassy but sweet music is a taste of old-school country with wit, humor and grit. Her debut, self-titled album features catchy commentary on stubborn joy, female independence, strong faith and big hair.
Carly currently is touring the Southeast and has appeared onstage with Dwight Yoakam, Keith Urban, Ellie Holcomb, Old 97’s, The Band of Heathens and Will Hoge.
In 2017, she co-wrote the song “Puttin’ on a Show” and it reached No. 1 for Cassidy Rae Gaiter in Australia. She played the pre-game show for the Atlanta Braves and was runner-up in the country songwriting category of the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.
The daughter of a math teacher and custom cabinetry maker, Carly had a loving childhood in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. She grew up singing and playing piano in her small Baptist church. Shel Silverstein poetry inspired her to start writing songs as a preteen, and she began developing an appreciation for country music in high school when her grandparents gifted her Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton records. She related to the stories of small-town life and taught herself guitar as she focused on writing and playing country music.
A turning point came in 2013 when Carly discovered Kacey Musgraves. As Carly studied her new-aged, but traditional country music approach, she began to have more confidence and clarity in her personal style. She considers Kacey a trailblazer and is inspired by her whimsical and cheeky attitude.
Carly’s first band was a bluegrass trio called The Sawnee Mountain Train Wreck. The three girls, who grew up playing softball together and shared a music teacher, sorted out how to be a band (hence the “train wreck” in their name) as they went along. They made appearances for two years at local festivals and small venues—even some where they caught audience members sleeping—and eventually Carly started sharing her original songs at small events as a solo artist.
Stepping into the spotlight was sometimes tricky, but her favorite memories include friends and musicians supporting her growth. She regularly appeared at the Silver Dollar Music Hall, which was a venue attached to a gas station in middle-of-nowhere South Carolina. While staff was used to her coming with The Sawnee Mountain Train Wreck, the all-guy house band celebrated her solo performance by wearing wigs so that she could have a “girl band” playing with her.
Once she started college at Kennesaw State University (KSU), she truly felt comfortable onstage and decided to pursue music professionally. She joined the music and entertainment business program at KSU, which opened doors to internships, networking and her first opportunity to record her music. One of her professors agreed to become her manager and her career has hit the gas since then.
When she’s not touring, Carly travels between Nashville and Atlanta writing music, and shares her love for Jesus as a worship leader at Passion City Church, a congregation that gathers thousands of believers in Atlanta and Washington, D.C.