Women and Country

In this week’s Observer there is a very timely interview with Maren Morris headlined, ‘Country music shouldn’t always be about the guy’. Speaking about a subject we have touched on frequently on Another Country she’s asked about the lack of female artists being played on country radio. Optimistically she says, ‘You listen to the radio and there’s 10 dudes and they all sound the same, but when the girl comes on, you probably know who it is because it’s so distinct.’

It’s one way of looking at it and it’s no surprise that Maren Morris should believe this. After all she’s had a massive hit single with ‘My Church’ which certainly made the dudes on Music Row sit up and think a little I expect. Take one look at this week’s Hot Country songs however and you quickly realise it might take a few more Maren moments to change country’s predominantly male radio domination. This week on The Billboard Hot Country Chart there were four solo, female artists in the top 50. There were three other women but they were part of mixed groups or guests of male artists. Surprising?

Not to our guest this week. Cam, like Maren Morris has caused her own mini earthquakes in country overt the last two years. Most of that came down to her massive song Burning House. It brought Cam into a rarefied group of new, young, hip female country artists who have (to me anyway) re awakened country music. Nevertheless, as you can see, that renaissance has not greatly changed the gender of radio play or sales. Even in this streaming age, radio is still the life blood of country music. So how did  all of that affect Californian Cam as she addressed breaking into Music Row? Like Maren Morris she saw this more as an opportunity rather than an obstacle and it speaks volumes that the positive attitude of both artists has reaped huge dividends. As ever, however there is much more to that question and you can hear her more considered opinion on this Tuesday’s AC. Just after a great performance at C2C I went along to catch up with Cam in her Glasgow dressing room and we chatted about this, Amelia Earhart and so much more.

After our 2 hour Merle Haggard special last week we’ll have the perfect sequel from Willie Nelson’s new record where it closes with his own moving tribute to The Hag. We will also have the brilliant, brilliant new single from Jason Isbell which, if it is an indicator of the album to follow, will establish him as the defining voice in country and Americana for 2017…there I’ve said it! We’ll have great new tracks from Andrew Combs, Joan Shelley and hear the much anticipated first tracks from Ray Davies new collaboration with The Jayhawks.

We’ll also make room for some country Gospel since it is Holy Week and we think we might have some of that on vinyl too. There’s an awful lot of music in two hours so make sure you join us from five past nine this Tuesday on BBC Radio Scotland.

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