Amanda Pearcy’s music is rooted in in her hardscrabble history, authentically grounded in her earthy, soulful voice. Testifying to her southeast Texas upbringing, with the region’s multicultural mix, its Gulf of Mexico coastline, and its shared border with Louisiana’s Acadiana, Pearcy’s songs carry a sense, and the sensuality, of the South, weaving themes of home and its loss; love, both surrendered to, and longed for; the ties that bind old friends; and our human experience’s collective memory.
Her chart topping 2015 release and third album with producer Tim Lorsch, An Offering, continues the journey where her critically acclaimed Royal Street left off, the timeless sound rolling with the heat waves off an asphalt highway, and quenching the thirst of a steamy summer evening. Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe” fits hand in hand with the 11 original compositions, Pearcy’s own lyrics shining a light on the dark places of struggle prior to surrendering to life’s tougher lessons, with a faith in the insight that comes with getting to the other side of them.
An Offering was selected as #1 on the prestigious EuroAmericana Chart’s 2015 Year End List and was one of Texas Music Magazine’s 2015 Albums of the Year. Texas Music Magazine also selected Pearcy as one of the "Texas Music 10: Singer Songwriters of Distinction”. Upon its release in the fall of 2015, An Offering was voted #1 by a landslide for the Oct EuroAmericana Chart, and kept the #1 ranking on that chart for Nov as well. Her 2013 release, Royal Street, spent an unprecedented three months at #1 & #2 on the EuroAmericana Chart, and landed at #7, behind Steve Earle and Guy Clark, on the chart’s 2013 Year End List. Amanda and both albums, An Offering and Royal Street, were John Conquest's picks for Songwriter and Album of the Year in his 3rd Coast Music's Best of 2015 and Best of 2013.
Most of the songs on An Offering were written during a transitory year and a half after the success of Royal Street. Living on the cusp of homelessness, Pearcy cared for travelers’ homes in exchange for a temporary roof over her head, while a beloved family member was incarcerated in the oldest prison in Texas. It is not surprising that imagery from hearth and home and snapshots from the urban landscape are evident in the songs on An Offering, exploring freedom and confinement on the home front, as well as what we reveal about who we are by what we hide, what we give up, and what we offer. The songs culminate into a blissful sigh in the instrumental reprise of the title track, showcasing Tim Lorsch’s gorgeous strings.
The youngest of four, Pearcy was born and raised in Houston, Texas, in a modest, and at times, turbulent home. Her father lost his father when he was a boy, and he and his widowed mother shared a tiny downtown Houston shotgun duplex with extended family before his mother remarried a railroad man. Likewise, Pearcy’s mother was left motherless at a tender age, and was raised along with her brother by their oil derrick building father in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and later, on a farm in Muskogee County, where they were no strangers to picking cotton. The foreshadowing of her parents’ lives to her own cannot be denied.
Although as a child Amanda Pearcy yearned to express herself creatively in a musical way, day to day life took precedence in her childhood home, and continued to do so on into her own widowed single motherhood. Too prideful to answer to “roughneck”, Pearcy’s first husband worked seven days a week as a derrick man in the oil fields around south-central Texas. Falling quickly in love and with a baby on the way, they married behind a double-wide mobile home on the banks of the lower Colorado River. They made their home in the (now sadly lost to wildfire) Lost Pines thirty miles east of Austin where she hung laundry on the line to dry, and depending on which weekly shift he was working, had either breakfast or supper ready for him when he came home. He passed away when their son was two years old, leaving them with not much more than a couple of classic Oldsmobiles: a hard top Cutlass Supreme and a Delta 88 Royale. Years after grieving the loss, Amanda picked up his pawn shop guitar and got to the work of finally feeding her soul.
Regretful wanderings and bittersweet reminiscences are among the stories that inevitably work their way into Amanda Pearcy’s songs. Apparently the restlessness, the missteps, and the tragedies that brought her so much pain, and thus a resilience of hope, have also planted her firmly in the garden of authentic songwriting that comes from one who’s lived it.
"Tough, sweet, and hard to shake, An Offering contains some of the best songwriting you're liable to hear this year. She puts flesh on the familiar bones of Southern gothic — and makes them sound like lived experience, only described by a sharp observer with a store of original images." — Madison Searle, Texas Music Magazine
Amanda’s maternal grandmother, one eighth Cherokee on her mother’s side, was born and raised in NW Arkansas on the foothills of the Ozarks, about 60 miles from Tahlequah, Oklahoma, which was founded as a capital of the original Cherokee Nation for those forced west on the Trail of Tears. She found delight in the circus, medicine shows, mustard on everything, and making home brew. She bottled and capped it right in her own kitchen and made root beer for the youngsters. She kept family healthy with sassafras tea, onion poultices, and steaming water vapor. Ten years into her marriage, she passed on in Tulsa, OK, from “sleeping sickness, by way of a horse fly from the mule” (encephalitis/West Nile virus). She rests in peace beside her first born, a baby girl with coal black hair.