Throughout their new duet, "Never Wanted to Be That Girl," Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde — playing the wife and the mistress, respectively, of a nameless cheating man — express empathy for each other. A new acoustic version of the song, though, ups the vulnerability in each artist's performance.

“I didn’t know we could make this song feel more vulnerable,” McBryde says, “however hearing it stripped back does that for me.”

The pair recorded their acoustic version of "Never Wanted to Be That Girl" as an Amazon Original, and it's premiering exclusively on The Boot. Press play below to listen:

McBryde and Pearce co-wrote "Never Wanted to Be That Girl" with Shane McAnally. Country fans will likely draw comparisons between the song and "Does He Love You," the 1993 hit from Reba McEntire and Linda Davis, but Pearce says they hoped to write from "a different perspective."

“Ashley and I are both drawn to the details and truths in our music,” Pearce reflects. “When collaborating on “Never Wanted to Be That Girl,” it felt like a moment to really lean in and write this story from both women’s perspective. There are moments you don’t see coming, and we wanted to write that classic country cheating song, but with a twist that explores some real emotions.”

"Never Wanted to Be That Girl" comes from Pearce's 29: Written in Stone album, released in September. Fans can listen to the acoustic version on Amazon Music now.

Top Country Songs of 2021, Ranked

You'll find much more than just the Top 10 Country Songs of 2021 on this list. Enjoy the 21 best country songs of the year, based on Taste of Country staff and country music fan opinion, plus commercial data (sales, streaming, airplay).

To be considered, the song must have been released in 2021 or have actively charted for a portion of the year (see "Wine, Beer, Whiskey"). New artists including Lainey Wilson, Larry Fleet and Morgan Wade crack the top songs list, while hitmakers including Thomas Rhett, Jason Aldean and Luke Combs make the Top 10.

Let us know your favorite song of 2021 on Twitter, or email us at

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