OFFSTAGE: Where Have All the Cowgirls Gone?

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

There must be some mistake. With all the female solo singers in Nashville and all the fabulous songs they are singing, not one of them is in the Top 30 on Billboard‘s country songs chart right now? That makes no sense, and according to Billboard, it has never happened since they started keeping track of such things about 20 years ago. Then they go on to examine all the reasons why this might be happening. Is it just bad timing? Is it that mega-star acts such as Shania Twain and Faith Hill are relatively inactive? Do female country fans prefer their singers a little on the manly side? Or is it just that country radio is dominated by men because — and these are their words, not mine — “music made by women has been largely viewed by programmers as experimental and nonessential.” The story concludes with a statement about how songs about the strength of women are the ones that do the best. I’d agree with that. Especially if by “stronger,” they mean that sometimes we are one Bud wiser and want to live in Airstreams and wake up laughing while we’re young and beautiful.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.