I thought it would be good to start a thread collectively about women in country music because separate threads don't get too much traction.
I just found this video on YouTube and never knew that there was a CBS special on Women in Country Music, and I had never heard Mary Chapin Carpenter's "The Hard Way" either. It's spectacular to see these women being celebrated on stage in 1993. I feel like we definitely need something of this sort right now.
We had a thread with some GREAT discussion. I'll see if I can find it. Faraway, especially, introduced me to a lot of women at that time and I had a whole Spotify playlist of female albums that I went through, listening while at work. I'll see if I can find it, so you can revive the conversation there!
Here is the thread. It's been dead for a while, but I would love to have the discussion revived - especially since I love Cam and Maren Morris now and I don't think their albums were out when we were having this discussion. There are lots of good suggestions for listening material from the females here.
http://www.carriefans.com/forums/mus...try-music.html (The state of women in country music)
The 90's were a great time for females in country music. As were the 70's and the 60's.
The 2000's brought the closing of diversity in order to gain as much profit from as little expense as possible.
The fewer artists (product lines) that corporations/labels had to support meant more money for them. And as the music industry generated less and less revenue investors came in to put up money but wanted a very large cut of the profit.
Nashville, one of the last holdouts of selling out to corporations, finally gave in and started streamlining and focusing most of attention on very specific high profile profit winners. And less time of marginal profit makers.
This means you have fewer and fewer options and those few artists profit show very high, decimating the marginalized artists entirely.
Since Nashville has decided they need a standard rate of artists available, they also decided that those artists would be predominately male, who trend higher in general profit margins.
But they recognized that very specific women had very high spikes of profit and then loss. So they focused specifically on certain women to promote and then move on to in order to gain max profit during the spike in popularity and then drop them for the next flavor.
This has come to such a specific trend that we are down to only a very few females that are even promoted at all, Carrie Underwood being by far the highest, second being Miranda Lambert.
OF course you have small offerings from each major label but they are few and far between and the labels themselves on use them as window dressing to suggest diversity. But in fact predominantly support the male options using the women sparingly.
Its all about profit making in an industry that gets increasingly unpredictable.
Look at the VMA Awards. You saw it there as well. Very few artists recognized. And those that were were celebrated as if they were the only thing that existed in the marketplace at all.
So it is in music today. The only way to avoid it or combat it is to support the kind of music you want to see more of.
Its extremely competitive and there are those of us who actually fear losing focus on Carrie for fear she will become the next marginalized artist in exchange for the new flavor.
So go the Fan Wars that are more specific and aggressive then ever before.
Country Universe have just published one of their annual predictive reviews of the CMA award process - and one of the points they made was that the Musician of the Year shortlist didn't include even one woman.
I have to say that the IBMA have been years ahead of the other award shows in recognizing female instrumentalists - and it is in Mountain-derived styles that women have been historically most important. Often the early performers were confined to the home environment, and their importance lay in teaching the male string band performers as children. But Aunt Samantha Bumgarner was one of the very first musicians of either sex to make a commercial "hillbilly" recording, and Sara Carter (mainly on autoharp) and her cousin Maybelle Carter (mainly on guitar) were extremely important in laying the foundations of the Country Music sound.
Today there are plenty of amazing progressive musicians around, operating mainly outside the specifically Mountain styles - even if these seem to receive little Mainstream exposure.
Often, of course, these artists will sing as well - but this time I'd particularly like to draw attention to the instrumental skills of a few of them.
This is Elana James (of the Hot Club of Cowtown)
And here, Texas Blues legend, Carolyn Wonderland
Rising stars, both domestically and internationally, who've performed with artists from Kristian Bush to Elvis Costello, are the sisters who perform as the duo, Larkin Poe. They are Rebecca Lovell (on mandolin and guitar) and Megan Lovell (on Dobro)
I really like that you know so much about the musicians too. I admit I am pretty clueless as to who is a good musician, except for the usual 5 nominees that you see over and over again like Dan Huff. haha
Carrie's backup singer plays fiddle too right? I think that is so cool when a female plays violin.
Since we seem to be using this new thread instead of the old one to talk about the women, can I just say how EXCITED I am to be seeing Cam AND Maren Morris on Friday!? I just hope they get to perform an hour each. Maren is on at 5:30 and Cam is on at 6:40, then Kacey Musgraves is on at 8:00. That's when I'll take my dinner break, haha. Eric Church is the headliner. I actually would have left after Cam, but my friend that agreed to go with me loves Eric, so I guess we'll be staying until the end. Lexington, KY has turned what used to be it's 4th of July one day music event into an official 3 day music festival this weekend. They've loaded all the women onto Friday - there are zero women playing Saturday or Sunday.
Cam had posted her upcoming dates for this week on Twitter and I replied and said "See you on Friday! Can you sing Untamed and Runaway Train?". She liked that tweet/reply and another one where I said I was really excited to see her and Maren and that I wished they were the headliners. I know it's silly, but I haven't had many artists like my tweets, so it's always cool when it happens. I like Kelsea too, but I do think Cam and especially Maren are my favorite new females of the current bunch so I am ecstatic to get to hear them live!
A really nice interview of Deana Carter by Rolling Stone talking about the role she played as a female artist in the country music landscape and it was a rarity:
How Deana Carter's Debut Album Busted the Glass Ceiling - Rolling Stone
And speaking of instrumentalists, there's this one too:
Just wanted to update on my concert from Friday. Maren and Cam were both great live. Maren sang for about 30 minutes, but she crammed a lot of music into that time. She sang Sugar, My Church, I Could Use a Love Song, 80s Mercedes, Drunk Girls Don't Cry, Second Wind (which she said Kelly Clarkson recorded - I didn't remember that), and Once. I think she may have sang Rich too, but can't remember, lol. I thought she sounded just as good or better live than she does on the album, which is always great to discover about an artist. She would even change up a couple little runs and notes here and there. Once was freaking amazing live. It's so funny because her singing voice is quite thick/robust to me, but when she would talk she just had the sweetest speaking voice, lol. She had to play to a fairly light crowd as she went on at 5:30 and being a work day, a lot of people hadn't arrived yet. Maren was definitely the highlight of the evening for me.
Cam was good as well. Her personality is actually a lot more outgoing than Maren's. I think she dropped one or two F-bombs while speaking, which isn't something I usually care for. She also told tales about drinking Fireball and sang a song called Fireball Whiskey which I have never heard of. As I had hoped, she did sing Untamed and Runaway Train (she called it her angry song). She also sang Mayday, Burning House, Half Broke Heart, Want it All, Country Ain't Never Been Pretty, Village and I honestly can't remember if she sang Hungover on Heartache. She definitely didn't sing Cold in California, cause I love that one, and she didn't sing My Mistake, which surprised me since it was technically her first single. She told the sweet story behind Village (her friend's brother passed away in an avalanche, I think it was) and it made me tear up listening to the lyrics in that context. Although her personality may not be my cup of tea - she's maybe a little too bubbly/brash for me - her performance was stellar and I greatly enjoyed it.
Kacey was, well, Kacey, lol. She didn't disappoint and came out in her fringe/bedazzled cowgirl leotard or whatever it is she wears, plus light up cowboy boots. Her band had light-up embellishments on their western style suits and her stage had neon cacti. The only song she sang that I like was Mama's Broken Heart. While she isn't my cup of tea and her whole performance felt pretty one note to me, the crowd seemed to like her and they were singing along to Follow Your Arrow. Maybe touring with Katy gave her more exposure than I give her credit for. We only stayed in the stands to see what she was wearing and listened to maybe a song or two and then we took a funnel cake break and walked around a bit. The field was crowded, but there were lots of seats in the stands so we were actually able to get back in the same spot when we came back to sit down and watch Eric.
And while this thread is about women in country, I will go ahead and review Eric since I'm writing about everyone else. Every now and then, I guess it is good to get out and see a concert for an artist that isn't your favorite. It makes you realize that those artists have their own devoted followings and are actually quite popular. Seeing Eric did that for me. While I was only able to sing along to the choruses of a few of his songs, I was surprised every time he started a song and I was like, oh yeah, I know that one. He has had a lot more singles/hits than I remembered. Also, the crowd loved him and seemed to sing along to every song, even the ones that I didn't know as well. He put on a great show, seemed to have a great stage personality, and it was a fun concert.
I heard Lauren Alaina's Road Less Traveled today - and I really liked it. I was also surprised, since I hadn't really listened to her in a while that her voice has matured. This song really fits her and I hope that she can get played on the radio.
Well, I was a little disappointed yesterday. I had heard that Aubrie Sellers landed a record deal after releasing New City Blue independently, but I guess her album became part of the record deal. I hadn't bought it, but I had been listening to it on Prime Music. I went to listen to it yesterday since I am seeing her on Friday (she is opening for Chris Stapleton) and it said it was no longer on Prime Music. After doing a little searching on Amazon, I see that the album is no longer for sale and is actually up for pre-order with a release date of September 30. It appears that "Sit Here & Cry" is the new single, as it is the only song available for purchase at this time.
So, I am happy for Aubrie, but I hate that I can't listen to it in preparation for the concert Friday!
Hey Kizmet! I'm really glad you were able to attend that concert with those excellent women.
I think Maren should definitely release Once as a single because it's one of the strongest cuts on the album and I think it would be somewhat of a statement against the grain of country radio. I'm really glad people like her are being played because they might be the ones to turn around the utter mess radio has turned into.
Similarly, I think even Cam can have success re-releasing My Mistake as a single. It received a lot of praise when it was released and still remains one of the most infectious songs on the album.
As far as Aubrie is concerned, I don't think you should worry about not having listened to her album before seeing her live. I've seen some of her performances on YouTube and she's really good. Plus, I feel like her album does have a 'live' feel to it, especially with songs like Sit Here and Cry, so what you might here at her concert would be quite similar to what you'll hear on the album. I'm sure you'll have a splendid time!
Btw, I'm surprised Jennifer Nettles and her latest album isn't included in conversations about women in country music these days. I think her album was spectacular but apart from Unlove You, I'm sad to see that she isn't being given the attention that she should be. I think she's doing a lot of good to the quality of music that is being circulated in the country format.
Hey Faraway! Are you familiar with Ward Thomas? I just found out about them yesterday and I've downloaded their album.