Pierce Pettis at the top of his craft
After a lifetime of crafting finely wrought, heart-touching songs, singer-songwriter Pierce Pettis feels that he’s finally found his comfort zone.
“The biggest change,” he said, "has been getting over myself and realizing this is a job and a craft. And the purpose is not fame and fortune, whatever that is, but simply doing good work.” Pettis’ good work can be appreciated at White Horse Black Mountain on Friday, Oct. 28.
Born into a musical family in Fort Payne, Alabama, Pettis has always felt the urge make music. He played in a series of adolescent bands, “all of them horrible,” he said, but persevered in playing and writing music that combined rock, folk, country and R&B influences, finally landing an unpaid position as a staff writer at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios. While there, his track “Song at the End of the Movie” found its way onto Joan Baez’s 1979 album "Honest Lullaby."
Following up on that success, he moved to New York and became involved with the fertile 1980s “Fast Folk” movement alongside up-and-coming singer-songwriters like Shawn Colvin and Suzanne Vega. He launched his recording career with an initial independent release, followed by albums on Windham Hill subsidiary High Street Records.
While still a staff writer for PolyGram in the '90s, Pettis signed to Compass Records and produced several more well-received albums. His songs have been recorded by Susan Ashton, Dar Williams, Garth Brooks and Art Garfunkel, among others.
Wasn't about luck
Who: Pierce Pettis
When: 8 p.m. Oct. 28
Where: White Horse Black Mountain
Cost: $12 advance, $15 door