NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

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July 25, 2013

Cardarelli country

Governor's Academy grad making a name for herself in Nashville

(Continued)

Cardarelli released her first album, “Little Big Sky,” in 2010. Her five-song EP, “Just Me & You,” premiered in November. Those, along with her single “Complicated,” which benefits the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, are available on iTunes.

She also became a favorite in the TD Garden, singing the national anthem for both the Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics.

After pursuing her career while living in Haverhill and Rhode Island as a Providence College student, Cardarelli made the decision to move to the center of the country music world, Nashville, at the start of 2013.

“I kind of felt like it was now or never,” said Cardarelli, who also attends Belmont University. “I thought that, if I am going to give it all I have, I have to be where the music is at.”

Boston will always be her home, she said, but she loves Nashville.

“Everyone has the same goals. You feel like you are on the same page as everyone, and they are very supportive,” she said. “It is cutthroat, but not nearly as cutthroat as Los Angeles is. I love hearing country music on every street corner and at every ice cream shop and coffee shop every day.”

Working with Martin and many others around Nashville, Cardarelli has drawn considerable attention.

Alabama offered her the chance to open for them on April 26 in Wallingford, Conn., in front of a crowd of 4,000. The band was so impressed that they invited her backstage and asked her to open again on May 1 in New York, an opportunity she accepted on the spot.

“It was totally surreal,” she said. “It was like a dream. I woke up and thought to myself, ‘Did that really just happen?’”

Then came the request to open for Nelson.

“I got a call from the people I work with in Nashville, and they asked if I would be interested in opening for Willie Nelson in a few weeks,” she remembered. “I said, ‘I’ll think about it ... of course! I would love to open for Willie Nelson!’ A few days before the show, they called me and said the gig was on, and I did a dance around my apartment.”

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