When singer/songwriter Scooter Pearce started thinking about recording a new album in late 2010, nothing could have prepared her for the bumpy road ahead. She had been working on some songs for years and they were finally feeling right, but soon the writing would be the only thing that was going right for Pearce.
The streak of bad luck started in August 2010, when Pearce and her partner separated. She fought sadness with music and moved into a recording studio in Stonewall, TX. For a while, Pearce slept on the studio floor and worked on her music for 12 to 20 hours a day, writing new material and rewriting songs she had been performing for years.
At the time, Pearce was also playing three to five shows a week, which took her from Austin to the Hill Country and from there to Houston on a regular basis. Things seemed to be on the mend when the divorce became official in October 2010, but then disaster struck. Twice.
"The studio crashed on Thanksgiving Day and I wasn't able to save any cuts," said Pearce. "I started over in March when we got the studio back up and running. Things were moving along until Father's Day, June 19, 2011. I was heading home from a show at Becker Vineyards. I'd dropped off Mo, my guitarist, and fell asleep at the wheel. How I survived, only my angels know! I suffered a stage 4 liver laceration and my dog, DJ, suffered a dislocated shoulder, but we were both alive."
The wreck happened between 11:00 p.m. and midnight. Pearce had her cell phone, but it flew away from her in the crash and she wasn't able to get a call out for help until 3:00 a.m.
Authentic is so close to Pearce's heart that she decided to share it with the world for free, despite her financial situation and all she had to endure to get it made.
"There was no traffic and you could not see my Suburban from the road," said Pearce. "Apparently I was knocked out for awhile. I found most of my equipment scattered throughout a cedar break. My phone was the last thing I found. I got a call out for help at 3:00 a.m."
"I was transported to San Marcos Hospital by ambulance and then airlifted to Breckenridge in Austin. I was informed I would be rushed into surgery, but had only $10,000 worth of insurance and that was already gone from the helicopter ride."
Once at Breckenridge, the doctor taking care of Pearce decided not to perform surgery. She was in observation from Monday morning until Wednesday afternoon, and as soon as she could pull herself out of bed and put her boots on, they sent the singer home.
"I wasn't supposed to ride in a car for three months," said Pearce. "I played my first show on July 9, and only missed one show due to being in the hospital. I couldn't get any follow-up care due to the severity of my injury, liability and no coverage. I had friends drive me to my shows so I could continue to make money. I had to hire players to set up stage and carry equipment. I couldn't pick up my guitar until September."
The money Pearce made playing shows went to gas, medicine and hiring help. She was ready to start selling off equipment to pay bills when she started getting calls from folks wanting to lend a hand.
"Dan Garrison of Garrison Brother's Distillery in Hye set up a trust in my name and auctioned off reserve bottles of whiskey," said Pearce. "The folks at Becker Vineyards held a benefit and collected items for auction. Hill Country Music donated a guitar. All kinds of businesses from Fredericksburg to Austin made donations for a raffle."
"Alamo Springs Cafe held a benefit and all together they raised around $6,000. Words can't express my gratitude. This was my sign from the universe: I was to continue in music, because I had a lot of people that believed in me and reached out to help me. I know the music is what made me whole again."
With some of the financial pressure out of the way, Pearce started looking for studios and new band members. Soon an offer came to go to Knoxville and play some shows. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and North Carolina followed. Then a friend offered to sponsor a the recording of the album in Knoxville. Pearce went to William Garrett's Songwriter's Recording Studio and began recording Authentic on Father's Day, 2012, one year to the day from her wreck.
"The original plan was for a full band, but due to deadlines, my boy's in Texas backed out," said Pearce. "We started looking for players around Knoxville, but I was on a tight budget. One night at midnight I got a call from the studio. It was the producer, William. He told me the CD stood alone and he didn't want to change it. We could always add players later."
"He said he had never had anyone come into his studio and lay down an album with first takes. We were even going to leave the openings I had left for the boys to fill. I expected to cut a few of the songs, not a 14 song album, but William said he wanted to keep them all."
Authentic is top-notch Americana in its purest form. If you could roll Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline into one, you would get Scooter Pearce. Her voice, songs and guitar are more than enough to make Authentic a superb, genuine album without overdubs, filters or digital tricks.
"This CD has a lot of personal meaning, it's almost a biographical work," said Pearce. "'Ring Don't Fit My Finger' is comprised of stories from my early childhood until my divorce. The album shows pain and the strength to overcome. 'Learn To Let Go' is a song that hits home with a lot of folks. We have to let go to overcome hard times or life will eat us up. Music has healing powers and can help us all overcome life's struggles. It has gotten me through a lot."
Authentic is so close to Pearce's heart that she decided to share it with the world for free, despite her financial situation and all she had to endure to get it made. "Music was a gift to me from my higher powers, it has gotten me through a lot of hard times and I feel it is my duty to share the gift with the world."
Authentic captures the energy and raw emotions that Pearce brings to each performance. For those who love blues, Americana or country listening to the album is a must.