Jo Carol Pierce Obituary, Death – Jo Carol Pierce has passed away unexpectedly. Pierce was an American singer-songwriter, playwright, and screenwriter. She was a lifelong resident of Austin, Texas. Karen Schoemer described Pierce as “an official local hero in her adopted hometown” in 1993. Pierce was born on July 20, 1944, in Wellington, Texas. She was raised in Lubbock and went to high school with Joe Ely and Butch Hancock. In the 1980s, she began writing songs after being encouraged by Ely and David Halley. Across the Great Divide: Songs of Jo Carol Pierce, a compilation album of 19 interpretations of her songs, was released in 1993 by Austinites.
She has written a number of cabaret plays, including the semi-autobiographical musical comedy Bad Girls Upset by the Truth. It was first performed at SXSW in March 1993 and later adapted into her first solo album of the same name, which was released in 1996. Dog of Love, her second solo album, was self-released in 2008. “Mostly…a hoot, though the profound blasphemy that informs “I Blame God” and “Vaginal Angel” takes religiosity a lot more seriously than the lip-service Christianity that condemns it,” according to the album Bad Girls Upset by the Truth.
The same album received an A from Robert Christgau, who described it as “a song cycle about a Lubbock girl who seeks Jesus on the two-lane blacktop of carnal knowledge and ultimately enjoys the just desert of giving birth to Her.” Pierce is “aided handsomely by a bunch of musicians who are there for her every time she commits suicide,” he says on the album. Bad Girls Upset by the Truth received four stars from Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune, who called Pierce “one of the most gifted songwriters ever to emerge from Texas” and the album “triumphant.”
“Pierce’s drawl and off-key singing may be jarring at first, and her loud rock edge is sometimes surprising (‘Rock in My Shoe’ sounds like a Neil Young song),” writes Jeff McCord of Texas Monthly of Dog of Love. Pierce married her high school sweetheart, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, in 1963; they had a child and divorced in 1967. Her second marriage is not counted because it lasted only three weeks. Guy Juke is her third husband, with whom she is still married in 2020.