Oh, the irony. In the recent Entertainment Weekly story about the civil war going on in country music, it shines the light on the songs that shine the light on women. (In reality, the war isn’t always so civil.)
One of the points is what New York magazine calls “Bro Country,” which are the tunes that may talk about rural this and rural that, but “what they care about is getting drunk and laid.” So, songs that revere women in cutoff jeans, women in bikini tops, women who drink ‘shine, women who drink real-good-feel-good stuff, women who dance on truck beds, women who kick back in lawn chairs and women who have kisses sweeter than Tupelo honey. And yet as great as women are as song topics, women as country singers don’t feel quite so loved.
The story points out that the country charts are so dominated by men, that a few weeks ago Carrie Underwood was the only solo female in the country Top 20. And that Sheryl Crow recently told The Hollywood Reporter country radio isn’t doing enough to play the girls.
“I can’t really be critical of the country format because I’m the newbie there,” she said. “I’d just like to see more than three women get played at radio. And that’s not just because I’m a woman. I just feel like, gosh, there’s a huge population of record buyers who are women. Why aren’t there women getting played at radio? Why aren’t there more female program directors? There’s, like, two! I don’t understand it. I’m a huge fan of Ashley Monroe. She’s got songs on that record I think are stupefying. There are a lot of great girls out there.”
Fortunately for Crow and anyone else out there who’d like to hear more female country artists, CMT is dedicated to showcasing the latest round of signed and unsigned female talent with the Next Women of Country campaign. Monroe, Holly Williams, Jana Kramer, Kacey Musgraves, Brandy Clark, Lauren Alaina , Sarah Darling, Rose Falcon, Rachel Farley and Kelleigh Bannen are making some of the best music you might not hear on country radio. But you will hear it on CMT.
“Obviously, we love our boys, but where would music be without the ladies,” Williams said about being named one of CMT’s Next Women of Country.
There’s no doubt in my mind that men and women can coexist peacefully in country music. But maybe by having more girls in the respected roles of fellow chart-toppers, the guys will think twice about pigeon-holing them as just someone to spend their Friday nights with.