You'll rarely see Carly Burruss without heels and a bandana tied around her neck. Her
sassy but sweet music is a taste of old-school country with wit, humor and grit. Her
debut, self-titled album features catchy commentary on stubborn joy, female
independence, strong faith and big hair.
Carly currently is touring the Southeast and has appeared onstage with Dwight
Yoakam, Keith Urban, Ellie Holcomb, Old 97’s, The Band of Heathens and Will Hoge.
In 2017, she co-wrote the song “Puttin’ on a Show” and it reached No. 1 for Cassidy
Rae Gaiter in Australia. She played the pre-game show for the Atlanta Braves and was
runner-up in the country songwriting category of the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at
MerleFest in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.
The daughter of a math teacher and custom cabinetry maker, Carly had a loving
childhood in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. She grew up singing and playing piano in her
small Baptist church. Shel Silverstein poetry inspired her to start writing songs as a
preteen, and she began developing an appreciation for country music in high school
when her grandparents gifted her Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton records. She related to
the stories of small-town life and taught herself guitar as she focused on writing and
playing country music.
A turning point came in 2013 when Carly discovered Kacey Musgraves. As Carly
studied her new-aged, but traditional country music approach, she began to have more
confidence and clarity in her personal style. She considers Kacey a trailblazer and is
inspired by her whimsical and cheeky attitude.
Carly’s first band was a bluegrass trio called The Sawnee Mountain Train Wreck. The
three girls, who grew up playing softball together and shared a music teacher, sorted
out how to be a band (hence the “train wreck” in their name) as they went along. They
made appearances for two years at local festivals and small venues—even some where
they caught audience members sleeping—and eventually Carly started sharing her
original songs at small events as a solo artist.
Stepping into the spotlight was sometimes tricky, but her favorite memories include
friends and musicians supporting her growth. She regularly appeared at the Silver
Dollar Music Hall, which was a venue attached to a gas station in middle-of- nowhere
South Carolina. While staff was used to her coming with The Sawnee Mountain Train
Wreck, the all-guy house band celebrated her solo performance by wearing wigs so that
she could have a “girl band” playing with her.
Once she started college at Kennesaw State University (KSU), she truly felt comfortable
onstage and decided to pursue music professionally. She joined the music and
entertainment business program at KSU, which opened doors to internships, networking
and her first opportunity to record her music. One of her professors agreed to become
her manager and her career has hit the gas since then.
When she’s not touring, Carly travels between Nashville and Atlanta writing music, and
shares her love for Jesus as a worship leader at Passion City Church, a
congregation that gathers thousands of believers in Atlanta and Washington, D.C.
Bio // Kate Smith
Photographer // Alisa Malkova