Monday, July 20, 2015

Country Strong

I’m not really a country gal. While I grew up in the Midwest and had plenty opportunity to get my twang on, I gravitated more toward indie rock. But I have enjoyed from time to time some of classics – Johnny to Willie, Patsy to Loretta. And what I’ve particularly liked through the years is the unmistakably strains of strong women standing up for themselves and taking absolutely no shit. Kitty Wells’ “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky-Tonk Angels,” Jeannie C. Riley’s “Harper Valley P.T.A.,” Dolly Parton’s “Just Because I’m a Woman,” Loretta Lynn’s “The Pill,” Martina McBride’s “Independence Day,” Dixie Chick’s “Goodbye Earl,” and so many more.

As a non-regular listener of popular country, I realize I’m about six months behind on Maddie & Tae’s “Girl in a Country Song.” But it’s never too late for a good, old-fashioned jolt of lyrical feminism. And, of course, it’s true. One grows ever so weary from the continued and relentless objectification, belittlement and worse of women in all genres of music – very much including country.

And, if like me, you don’t really listen to contemporary country music regularly you might not have realized the very recent controversy around playing women artists on the radio. In May a national radio consultant said in a major trade magazine that he cautioned stations from playing too many female artists. Like, he flat-out said that. And I quote: “If you want to make ratings in country radio, take females out.”

Instead he said female artists should be played sparingly like the decorative “tomatoes” in the predominantly male artist “salad.” I AM NOT EVEN MAKING THAT UP. Yes, I checked the calendar again, it’s actually 2015 and professional men are actually still saying stupid-ass shit like this.

But don’t worry, female artists like Maddie & Tae have already shot his sexist theory to smithereens with stone-cold results. In December their “Girl in a Country Song” hit No. 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay charts. So suck on them tomatoes, boys.

So today I extend my appreciation and admiration to those country music women out there fighting against The Man. And it’s also another excuse to post something about the continually delightful Kacey Musgrave, who just so happened to stop by NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series on the day the Supreme Court legalized marriage equality across the nation. Yee-fucking-Haw.


Helena said...

Thank you DS - have really come to depend on you to keep me up to date on my pop culture.

Carmen SanDiego said...

I love your music posts and That was a great one. Thanks DS