Country music is all about all connection, and these Next Women of Country have found their own ways to forge a bond with the music they love.
Abby Anderson adores country music legends, finding a pathway between that golden era of music and her own creative direction.
“It was my whole childhood, and it’s the way of life for my family,” she says of traditional country music. “I grew up going to see my extended family in East Texas, and it was four-wheelers and getting muddy and mom spraying you down in the backyard with a hose butt-naked. So you walk in the house, and country music was that soundtrack. For me, it was George Jones, Merle Haggard, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, and lots of George Strait. My mother instilled country music history in me.”
She continues, “All I do is listen to old music. I think a lot of it is the confidence they had. I’d like to think that I have a lot of confidence in all of my music and that you can hear that in my music. And I feel like I look at those artists like Merle Haggard, George Jones, Loretta, Elvis Presley, Dolly, Ray Charles — they were just confident. And you could just tell they loved what they did.”
Ingrid Andress feels a pull toward the songwriting found in country music.
“I feel like country is one of the last genres left that you can tell a story in, and people will actually listen the whole way through,” she says. “And there’s so much going on in the world right now that we all need to talk about. Country is that genre, to me, that I feel the most connected to, because I feel that opportunity to be able to tell that story — or whatever story needs to be told.”
She continues, “Not every other genre allows you to really dive in and do that. There are still some restrictions but it won’t be too much longer. I think country is what keeps everybody aware of what’s happening. … That’s what I loved about country when I first heard it.”
Runaway June believes their strongest connection to country music is through its fans.
“All three of us want to say the same thing — we have a voice, and that’s how our band formed,” the band states. “So now we have a chance to put that out into the universe for people to hear. And to help someone going through a breakup or help someone who is sad, it’s a cool place for us to be in life.”
The trio’s members look up to other artists, both legendary and contemporary, for inspiration, too.
“We didn’t gig around Nashville gigs to get our chops, because we were focusing on our songwriting. But Nashville is just that place no matter what you’re trying to accomplish: the server at your restaurant might be the best guitar player in the world,” they note. “When we play our Dwight Yoakam cover, ‘Fast as You,’ it is this magnetic thing that draws people in. I feel that way about Dwight and about John Fogerty. And look at Jon Pardi. He didn’t veer from who he was, and fans came back to that sound. He was like, ‘This is who I am and this is the music that comes out of me. I can’t do it any other way.’”