Grace Pettis returns with powerful new album, ‘Down to the Letter’



Nashville-based, Alabama- and Austin-raised singer-songwriter Grace Pettis, joined by Robby Hecht and Joe Crookston, will perform at “Songwriters in the Round” concerts at the Avenel Performing Arts Center, May 10 at 7:30 p.m., and The Jalopy Theatre in Brooklyn, May 11 at 8 p.m.

Pettis will release a new album, Down to the Letter — a powerful lyrical journey through heartbreak — June 14, on MPress Records. Produced by singer-songwriter Mary Bragg, who also contributed backing vocals and acoustic guitar, the album showcases Pettis’ buoyant and rich vocals. Pettis and Bragg also worked together on Pettis’ previous album Working Woman (2021), but this album took on a very different process.

“We recorded Working Woman at Sound Emporium (in Nashville), which is this big, beautiful historic studio … We brought in a raucous rock and roll band,” she said in a press release.

For Down to the Letter, Bragg wanted a more intimate atmosphere. “It was just the three of us (Pettis, Bragg and guitarist-engineer) working on it for days … it was the kind of safe and supportive environment I needed, where I was among friends and could be emotionally vulnerable with in the way I need to be, to get the vocals we wanted to get,” Pettis said.

The daughter of singer-songwriter Pierce Pettis, Grace Pettis carries on the tradition of creating songs whose stories resonate.

You can see her video of her upbeat and fiery single “I Take Care of Me Now” below.

On the album’s opening track, “Rain,” she creates an ethereal mood with her rich and elegant voice.

She sings:

I don’t know how to be happy
With or without him, some other shade of gray
So, I don’t sing about sunshine
All I write about is rain … rain
In an angry bruise, buried blood, loneliness
Wrapped in rage
In a deluge, in a flood. I am words pouring down a page.


In “I Didn’t Break This,” a poignant and delicate song, she sings:

Haven’t hear a Sunday sermon in a while
It’s hard to dress up and smile when I know I’m not in good standing
Although God understands me more than the pastor or the pews
And I’ve got nothing to prove
If anyone needs to hate me
If anyone needs to make me the bad guy, I can take it
‘Cause everybody saw me leaving and nobody knows my reasons
That’s fine. I know I didn’t break this.

Her songs have been recorded by other performers, including the Grammy-nominated blues artist Ruthie Foster; Pettis co-wrote three songs on Foster’s 2022 album, Healing Time.

In addition to touring as a solo artist, Pettis has been a member of the trio Nobody’s Girl with Rebecca Loebe and BettySoo since 2017; they released their first album in 2021.

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