One of the things I didn’t get round to talking about with our Nashville Correspondent, Bill DeMain, last week was Country Music Television’s (CMT) recent conversion to a balanced male/female playlist. It’s happened finally, thanks perhaps to some serious lobbying, and I for one am grateful things are moving forward.
It’s always been our contention here that in Nashville they seem to have rather missed the point of where the innovation is coming from. In my experience, it’s women who are able to reflect, adapt and innovate more than the men. Think back to some key country songs and of the last 50 years or so and listen to the evidence. Loretta Lynn‘s, ‘The Pill,‘  Dolly Parton‘s ‘Just Because I’m a Woman,’ Deana Carter‘s ‘Strawberry Wine’ or more recently Carrie Underwood‘s ‘Smoke Break’ or Little Big Town‘s ‘Girl Crush.’ There are so many more you can add in here…feel free to join the blog.
Set all of these against a plethora of dirges about beer, guns and trucks and it’s not difficult to say where the life is. Despite all of that the battle goes on, and on the AC we like to think we’re on the side of the angels. To this end I want to shed a little light on two women who really should be getting much more attention.
The Secret Sisters are about to release their fourth album and, from what I know so far, it has everything going for it. Co-produced by Brandi Carlile the sisters are writing it for themselves for the first time. This alone is evidence of their journey. On their first, T Bone Burnett produced, album they sang country standards and, although this was a great showcase for sibling harmonies, it only told half the story. Talking to them a couple of years back on our Celtic Connections show it was evident Laura and Lydia Rogers had battled back from the hype surrounding that to re establish themselves in country music. I, for one, am delighted they have truly found their voices. Here they are in their recent biography talking about the new album: ‘With Saturn Return, our hope is that women can feel less alone in their journey through the modern world. We need each other more than we ever have.’ Well, ‘Amen’ to all of that. Check out their current single, ‘Late Bloomer’ on this week’s show.
Elsewhere you’ll hear some new names like Ada Lea, Tom Wardle and Alex Rex. There will be bluegrass courtesy of Dr Ralph Stanley and we will celebrate a significant anniversary for Johnny Cash fans. We’ll have some live Bluebird magic from Maren Morris and for the person who seemed to think we didn’t play Scottish country artists we’ll even have the excellent new single from Kerri Watt. It would be patronising to play music from Scotland simply because it’s local. Instead we keep the rules consistent; if we love it, we play it and then we play it again.
Join me live if you can this Tuesday evening on BBC Radio Scotland FM. Don’t forget that we’re on at the much more reasonable time of five past eight.