“Ain’t we all the stars playing the leading part in our own soap opera?” Brandy Clark belts our that questions to kick off Big Day in a small Town, posting the premise of not just the opening track (“Soap Opera”), but all 10 songs that follow it. The towns that anchor Clark’s new album may be small enough to warrant only a single blinking light, but the lives lived in them are anything but… and neither are the hope and dreams that rise from their backroads and bedrooms.
When you grow up in a small town, oftentimes, your dreams are all you have. Whether it’s to become a football star or a father, a homecoming queen or a hair dresser, your dreams might be the only thing that keep you going. For Clark, the dream she harbored in her small hometown of Morton, Washington, was to be a country singer. Sure, once she moved to Nashville, she had successful cuts as a songwriter [The Band Perry’s “Better Dig Two,” Miranda Lambert’s “Mama’s Broken Heart,” and Kacey Musgraves’ “Follow Your Arrow”], but being an artist in her own right was a dream she had stopped dreaming until two years ago when her first album, the stunning 12 Stories, debuted.
At the time, it was a passion project, more than anything… a passion project that went on the become a Grammy-and CMA-nominated release that topped myriad “Best Albums of 2013” lists; earn her opening slots on tours with Jennifer Nettles, Eric Church, and Alan Jackson; land her performances on The Ellen Degeneres Show and The Late Show with David Letterman; and win her a Warner Bros. Records deal. Now, as she gears up for her sophomore set, the alternately feist and poignant Big Day in a Small Town, Clark has much higher hopes.