Big Day in a Small Town

Big Day in a Small Town

by Brandy ClarkBrandy Clark


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Brandy Clark's 2013 debut 12 Stories was very much a songwriter's record: clean, simple, and spare, its arrangements never distracting from the writing. Big Day in a Small Town, released three years later as Clark's first major-label album, is its opposite: a collection of 11 songs buffed and polished with the intention of bringing her music to the widest possible audience. The tight drum loops of "Girl Next Door," the album's first single, signals the biggest aesthetic shift from the front porch picking of 12 Stories, but Clark hasn't abandoned her flair for intimate character sketches or storytelling. "Homecoming Queen" and "Three Kids No Husband" could've easily fit on the debut, but Jay Joyce -- the producer who helmed Eric Church's muscular modern-day outlaw Mr. Misunderstood, and also the Brothers Osborne's Pawn Shop, an album much closer in sound to Big Day in a Small Town than Church's -- gives them subtly textured arrangements, then surrounds these miniatures with bolder sounds. "Broke" plays with modern R&B rhythms that counter its white trash jokes, "Soap Opera" plays its gospel overtones as pop, and the riotous dis of "Daughter" is the only time Clark serves a straight-down-the-middle country song. Big Day in a Small Town slides from sound to sound with ease because Clark's anchor remains her finely rendered intimacy, a skill put into sharp relief by the heartbreak of the album closers "Drinkin' Smokin' Cheatin'" and "Since You've Gone to Heaven." The brighter, funnier songs and the nicely etched smooth ballads "Love Can Go to Hell" and "You Can Come Over" serve as gateways to this Clark signature, and if Big Day in a Small Town occasionally feels like nothing more than a collection of great songs that don't quite gel into a larger picture, that's a minor complaint: songs rarely come much better than these.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/10/2016
Label: Warner Records
UPC: 0093624922254
catalogNumber: 553253
Rank: 74791


  1. Soap Opera
  2. Girl Next Door
  3. Homecoming Queen
  4. Broke
  5. You Can Come Over
  6. Love Can Go to Hell
  7. Big Day in a Small Town
  8. Three Kids No Husband
  9. Daughter
  10. Drinkin' Smokin' Cheatin'
  11. Since You've Gone to Heaven

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Brandy Clark   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals
Jay Joyce   Organ,Banjo,Guitar,Background Vocals
Pat McGrath   Guitar (Resonator)
Keith Gattis   Guitar
Fred Eltringham   Drums
Shane McAnally   Background Vocals
Jason Hall   Background Vocals
Kacey Musgraves   Background Vocals
Josh Osborne   Background Vocals
Rob McNelly   Guitar
Dave Roe   Bass
John Deadrick   Keyboards
Morgane Stapleton   Background Vocals
Forest Glen Whitehead   Guitar,Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Jay Joyce   Producer,Engineer
Mark Sanders   Composer
Stephen Walker   Art Direction,Illustrations
Scott Stepakoff   Composer
Lori McKenna   Composer
Shane McAnally   Composer
Jason Hall   Engineer
Pamela Littky   Portrait Photography
Jeremy Spillman   Composer
Luke Laird   Composer
Brandy Clark   Composer
Josh Osborne   Composer
Bryan Simpson   Composer
Mark Narmore   Composer
Jesse Jo Dillon   Composer

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