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  • Writer's pictureFollow Your Arrow UK

Women in country music

One of the most topical discussions I keep hearing about is the lack of airplay for female artists on the radio stations in the United States. According to alleged market research carried out by those radio stations they have concluded that when they test an audience response the reaction to female recording artists is very poor compared to their male counterparts. With thousands of radio stations in the USA and with my background in working in marketing for over 11 years; I find it extremely difficult to believe this "research" has any basis in fact. In the UK, to my knowledge this isn't an issue for female artists. In the growing country radio stations and streaming popularity in the UK, we love to hear a full variety of all recording artists.

It is interesting to try to comprehend that the big artists of the past including Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire would have struggled to have their music played, and I'm sure they did but the decline in female artists being played now is unbelievable. This year marks the centenary of Women's Suffrage, where married women who owned a property and were over the age of 30 were allowed the vote. This came after years of campaigning to get one tiny concession in the fight for equality. It is a shame that with all the changes that has happened in a hundred years, women's voices are still struggling to be heard. This subject of course goes beyond country music and there are many world wide issues relating to this but it's a subject that keeps coming up week after week.

Miranda Lambert and Ashley Monroe
Miranda Lambert and Ashley Monroe

Therefore, I want to dedicate this weeks blog to my favourite female country artists, I still love male artists too and they'll be sure to feature in my blog as this is not a man-bashing but this week it's all about the girls. My favourite artists consist around strong women, my first glimpse into female empowerment through music came into the form of the Spice Girls when I was nine years old with the release of 'Wannabe'. It was definitely not country and I didn't understand the lyrics fully but the message of "Girl Power" really came through.

The women who inspire me now include Miranda Lambert, Hillary Scott, Lori McKenna, Carrie Underwood, Maren Morris, Kacey Musgraves, Karen Fairchild and Kimberley Schlapman. Not a traditional list you may say but I'm discovering the older songs as my knowledge of country grows, I absolutely love Dolly Parton, Martina McBride and Faith Hill but I also love Taylor Swift and new artists like Catherine McGrath, Ashley McBryde and Ward Thomas and so many more. These women whether they are performers or songwriters, have a traditional style or new style are strong women, flawed women, they are each of us. If I can relate to them or they move me to tears or make me shout and scream as I sing along then I'm happy because I feel connected. I was listening to Ashley McBryde just this morning and I felt like I was with her in that little dive bar in Dahlonega.

Maren Morris
With Maren Morris, Bristol November 2017

I'm excited to discover songs and artists from the past and present and I for one will be playing these women loud and proud because they have something to say and I want to hear it.

Sammi x

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