“Pain takes my heart’s place/ The love we made, we can’t erase it/ Don’t want to face it,” Erin McCarley sings on “Pitter-Pat.” When I hear those words through her smoky voice, I want to believe that this is the start of a thundering career filled with mind-altering songs and albums that you just have to tell all your friends and family about. And with the recent boom of female singer-songwriters in the past few years, there is reason to believe that there is room for all the talent in the world, even if you’re not the second coming of Lucinda Williams—you don’t have to write the next Car Wheels on a Gravel Road to make a decent living. But, the truth is simple for McCarley: if her first offering, Love, Save the Empty, gives us any hint about what is to come, it’s that her musical pulse is not to be denied.
Because McCarley, who is now 30 years young, has got a reason to dream about what is ahead of her—a road that is anything but empty.
On this afternoon where we’ve set some time aside to chat, McCarley is in Knoxville, Tennessee, and life couldn’t be better.
“They have the best hospitality,” she tells me with a slight giggle. “We’re in this little loft upstairs above the venue with bunk beds, a TV, a couch, full kitchen, and then they cook us the most amazing meal. So, I don’t want to miss that meal. It’s filet! I don’t know how we’re going to soundcheck and eat in 15 minutes.”
McCarley’s been on the road, off and on, since last August, playing rooms around the nation. She recalls one night in St. Louis where she performed at the Duck Room, a venue where the legendary Chuck Berry plays once a month.
“Yeah, oh my gosh,” she remembers. “Crazy.”
Then another memory comes to her – the day she spent at the Ed Sullivan Theater to perform on the Late Show with David Letterman.
“Oh, it was amazing, it was so much fun,” McCarley says with a rush of energy. “It was sort of a whole day’s event. We had to be there really early, because we didn’t have crew to load in, so we did it. And it actually made it more fun. It was as good as I thought it would be – no, it was better. The whole time they keep the studio at 48 degrees – isn’t that wild?”
Glide recently had a chance to speak with McCarley about the making of her first record, Patty Griffin, and life on the road.
Tell us about Love, Save the Empty, and what the success of it will mean to you.
It’s hard to gauge success right now, but the response and types of things that have been said have meant a lot to me, just because, as an artist, you want to be recognized as that – not just a singer, or just as a song. I feel like people are responding to the whole thing, and just what it’s all about. So, that’s been pretty exciting for me, up to this point.
Especially in this day of age. It’s tough cover all the avenues out there to get your music heard.
Well, there’s just so much. So much to entertain people with now.