When I was writing last week’s post I realized I had found a lot of great female country singers, and I wanted to spotlight them a little more.
I don’t study music trends for a living, but it does seem that there’s a lot more interest in female country singers this year. I don’t know if this was inspired by Kacey Musgraves, who I talk about here, but it’s definitely a positive outcome of the neverending music hype machine. I tire of EarlSweatshirtChvrchesVampireWeekendTylertheCreator like everyone else does.
Sometimes on Pitchfork, whose reviews I don’t read regularly, I search for everything written by my two favorite writers on the site: Laura Snapes and Lindsay Zoladz. Laura had recently reviewed Caitlin Rose favorably, so I went to Spotify to check it out and The Stand-In is a fantastic record. Rose has a gorgeous voice but it’s not too fragile or too gratingly gruff.
I’ve been listening to The Stand-In for the past week, and even played it for my husband, who swore I was listening to She & Him. I didn’t realize how much Rose sounds like Zooey Deschanel, though her voice is a little fuller.
My mother gifted me a subscription to Garden & Gun, the rad southern magazine, and the first issue I received had Nikki Lane on the cover. Her new record, which is being produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, won’t be out until later this year, so we have to make do with her previous releases. “Gone Gone Gone,” from the EP of the same name, is very retro country and I love the video which shows a Karen Black-esque Nikki singing in the woods as well as a modern Nikki riding a motorcycle.
I don’t think Kacey Musgraves is as unknown as the other women here, but I wanted to write about her album, Same Trailer, Different Park. I was not a fan of lead single “Merry Go ‘Round,” which came out last year and made everyone freak out. But Trailer is a wonderful record–not overproduced, and full of a bunch of solid fucking songs. Plus this record just debuted #1 on the country charts by selling a whopping 43,000 units the first week (that is sad considering JT sold almost 1 million) so maybe there is hope for modern country.
Like a Rose by Pistol Annies’ Ashley Monroe is a sweet little album that hopefully will ride the Kacey Musgraves tails to find some additional fans. I love that she has a sense of humor, like in these lyrics to “Like a Rose”:
I was only 13 when daddy died
Mama started drinking and my brother just quit trying
I’m still bouncing back, heaven only knows
How I came out like a rose
Fun fact: Ashley is a part of Jack White’s Third Man House Band. She also sang two songs on Brendon Benson’s album last year.
I read about Lydia Loveless in SXSW recaps and looked her up because of her super name (birth name: Lydia Ankrom). She’s on Bloodshot and plays old school badass country rock ala Wanda Jackson (fun fact: I’ve been picking up a lot of Wanda in the used bins lately, thanks people of Richmond). One of the things I like about her is that she believes what she sings. There’s a lot of passion and attitude hanging on every word.
If you’re just discovering any of these ladies, try Tift Merritt and Shelby Lynne too! And Natalie Maines, who is of course from one of my favorite country groups ever, The Dixie Chicks, has a solo record expected this May. It is a fantastic year for female country singers.