Give each 2018 CMT Artists of the Year honoree a day to name the female artists they can’t live without, and they’d each come up with a desert island playlist that would last well beyond a hypothetical zombie apocalypse.
And it would start with the iconic works of Artist of a Lifetime Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire and have the vivid storytelling of Patty Loveless, Matraca Berg and Allison Moorer.
Each of the honorees Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Kelsea Ballerini, Maren Morris, Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman and Hillary Scott sat down with CMT and discussed the trailblazing female artists who came before them ahead of Wednesday’s (Oct. 17) CMT Artists of the Year ceremony. The 90-minute concert special will celebrate the most prominent female voices representing music’s past, present and future and the ceremony airs live from Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
Additionally, on Wednesday, CMT will stage an all-female artist takeover across its platforms, including music hours on CMT, the 24-7 digital channel CMT Music and CMT Radio’s widely-syndicated shows CMT Radio Live and CMT After Midnite to encourage and inspire increased female airplay on show day.
For inspiration, the honorees and performers the Pistol Annies highly recommend any music by the following female voices:
Maren Morris: “These women are all so different and saw something in me.”
“After that, I’ve had so much support from Miranda [Lambert] and Kacey [Musgraves] and Sheryl Crow and Alicia Keys. It’s been so amazing. These women are all so different and saw something in me. It’s still very mind-boggling and emotional.”
Karen Fairchild: “She made the record of the year.”
Hillary Scott: “She just said, ‘You need to know this.’”
Kelsea Ballerini: “These women were all a crucial part of me being an artist.”
Shania Twain has always been one of Ballerini favorite singers for her unrelenting focus and drive. “The first time I met her I was like I can’t even make words. It wasn’t just her music; it was the way she did everything. It was the way she was like, ‘I’m going to write songs how I want to, and I’m going to make music videos how I want to, and I’m going to wear what I want to because it’s what I want, and this is how I’m going to do it.’ And I think that’s bold.”
Pistol Annies: “We love Patty Loveless now. She’s the fourth Annie.”
Ashley Monroe: “We love Patty Loveless now. She’s the fourth Annie. And Patsy Cline was my first tape; that and Amy Grant’s House of Love.”
Angaleena Presley: “Loretta Lynn for me but my mom already had all her records. So, I didn’t have to buy them. We’d just listen to them every night when we’d do dishes. My mom loved Janis Joplin. She loved her. It would be like from Loretta to Janis.”
Miranda Lambert: “My mom was a huge Aretha [Franklin] fan. She still is. I always loved country, but that was my introduction to soul and R&B music, which was a pretty damn good introduction.”