Southside alumni return to record “homecoming” album

Published 6:00 pm Friday, June 2, 2023

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“Outlaw” is Southside High School sweethearts Caleb and Madison (Hudson) Petty’s debut country music album that is set to release on Saturday, June 24. The album features songs that illustrate their love for the “simple life” in Beaufort County and their breakup with the country music industry in Nashville. 

The Pettys are natives of Chocowinity, but didn’t meet until they were in high school when Caleb was a sophomore and Madison was a freshman. They realized they had a shared interest in music when they started dating. They began playing gigs together including worship at Eastern Pines Church of Christ in Greenville where they still perform today. 

Though Caleb and Madison grew up listening to Southern Rock and Country, Caleb ventured toward Rock and Blues as he got older, but with Madison’s influence he returned to his Country roots. Madison has always been faithful to Southern Rock and Country. Together, they write music that has a blend of all the genres they’ve listened to over the years to create their “outlaw, country western vibe,” they said.   

Their music is also influenced by artists they look up to like Trace Adkins, Chris Stapleton, Carly Pierce, Taylor Swift, Josh Turner and Brad Paisley. 

Like Turner and Paisley, the Pettys graduated from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. While studying there, they were quickly disillusioned with city life because it was difficult to travel back home to visit family. Also, they have a personal studio in Beaufort County where they record music under their self-titled band, Petty. 

“We realized we had a lot more going for us here than what we did in Nashville,” Madison said. 

Caleb lived in Nashville for four-and-a-half years while attending Belmont, but Madison lived there for three-and-a-half years and graduated early. 

“Even though we were there a short time, the way the industry is revealed to you and how it actually works – even having your foot in the door – you’re already shown how awful the industry actually is,” Madison said about her and Caleb being “hurt” by the country music industry. 

The “hurt” they experienced led to their decision to move back to North Carolina. 

Caleb described moving back to Chocowinity as a “scary” experience, because they were leaving the music capital of the world. “We’re leaving a place where you go to make this happen.” 

Song ideas and lyrics for their album in tow, the Pettys returned from Nashville ready to record “Outlaw” in Chocowinity with their family’s help. 

“This album is so important to us, because it is our first album as a married couple, but also every song on the album is like a homecoming song for us,” Caleb said. The songs reflect their yearning to come home. “We were so excited to be writing so many songs about moving back home and living the simple life in Eastern North Carolina.” 

A special element of “Outlaw” is that family members play instruments and sing in some of the songs. Even their grandparents can be heard clapping at the end of “More than a Country Song” and album closer “In the South.”  

“We got literally everybody we possibly could to try to be involved in this, because it matched the homecoming theme of this album and that’s what we really wanted,” Madison said.