Posted on September 24, 2015 at 6:00 am
Growing up my dad exposed me to a variety of music genres. He played everything from smooth jazz and disco to pop and classic rock. But of all the genres we listened to, one always reigned supreme—country. It probably had something to do with the fact that it was my mom’s favorite. Modern day country legends like Randy Travis, Reba McEntire, and Alan Jackson were all staples of my childhood.
Today’s country music is a little different than what I grew up listening to. With the emergence of “bro-country” in the early 2010s, songs sung by male vocalists about pick-up trucks, alcohol, and scantily-clad women dominate today’s airwaves. Many music critics and industry professionals have speculated on whether or not female artists can compete in today’s market. Lucky for country music lovers like myself, female artists aren’t bowing down to their male counterparts. Instead, today’s contemporary ladies of country are producing fresh, clever material backed with talent and artistry.
Here are four female country artists I highly recommend checking out. Their albums are all available for digital checkout via hoopla, so you can start listening anytime!
Maddie & Tae are a dynamic duo fighting back against bro-country. If you’ve never heard their irreverent platinum single, “Girl in a Country Song”, do yourself a favor and go watch their music video right now. With lines like “Yeah, baby, I ain’t your tan legged Juliet. Can I put on some real clothes now?”, I dare you not to laugh. After hearing their second single, “Fly”, on the radio this summer, I had a suspicion that these ladies could do more than produce one catchy hit song. Their recently released full-length album, Start Here, does not disappoint. It is a great mixture of ballads and up-tempo numbers with captivating lyrics and fun melodies. My two favorite songs are “After the Storm Blows” and “Smoke”.
She may not be pageant material, but female country artist Kacey Musgraves is a force to be reckoned with. Her 2013 debut album, Same Trailer Different Park, pushed industry standards with lyrics you’d be more likely to hear in a Katy Perry song, referencing everything from smoking pot to kissing girls. The hit single “Follow Your Arrow” was heralded by fans for its encouraging message of self-acceptance. Pageant Material, her follow-up album released this summer, continues to celebrate not giving a damn and being true to yourself. This lady is what contemporary female country music is all about. In her song “Biscuits”, Kacey promises that if you can manage to “mind your own biscuits” that “life will be gravy”. I have to agree with her on that one.
Former country music power couple Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert have helped put Ashley Monroe on the map. In 2011, Monroe and Lambert combined forces with Angaleena Presley to form a band called the Pistol Annies. Monroe’s second album, Like a Rose, released in 2013 received critical acclaim. I enjoyed Like a Rose but am happy to say her third album, The Blade, released this past July is even better. I find myself humming the tune of songs like “On to Something Good” and “Bombshell” long after I’ve finished listening to the album. Monroe has definitely come into her own and established herself as a mature female artist.
Winner of The Voice season four in 2013, Danielle Bradbery’s self-titled debut album is the perfect mixture of sassy and sweet. Only 17 years old when she won The Voice two years ago, I think this girl has a bright future ahead of her in country music. Bradbery’s second album is supposed to be released sometime this year. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before it pops up on a hoopla #NewMusicFriday tweet!