It’s always hard to predict the year ahead in music. But one thing  for sure is I didn’t think we’d spend the second quarter of the year talking about (and importantly listening to) Beyoncé Knowles. Cowboy Carter is now a month old and you only have to cast a glance at Billboard’s Hot Country Songs to know that Beyoncé  has managed to do any number of impossible feats.

Firstly she’s answered the challenge in her opening track, “American Requiem” by imposing herself where she declared she had not been welcomed.

They used to say I spoke too country
Then the rejection came, said I wasn’t country ‘nough

Secondly she has shaken up country music’s obsession with the questionable ethics of their current picture postcard, Morgan Wallen. He’s still there but his wings have been clipped and he’s in sever danger of being knocked off his lofty perch.

Thirdly, and this is perhaps the most important one, she has redefined what we mean by country music and smashed through the music business’s meaningless obsession with genre, which never concerned real music fans.

On this week’s show we are going to reflect on her remarkable album, Cowboy Carter one month in. Emma Gallagher, who is producing the show over the last couple of weeks has been making all the CC connections for a very special second hour of this week’s AC. So I asked Emma to write something about this remarkable record.


Can you hear me? Or do you fear me?

Beyoncé sings on Cowboy Carter’s opening track AMERIICAN REQUIEM as she sets the scene for a conversation-sparking, genre-bending record.

In the second hour of this week’s AC we’ll be delving into the biggest country album of the year so far, celebrating its impact and exploring the historic influences and colossal collaborators Beyoncé has enlisted (Linda Martell, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson & Rhiannon Giddens to name a few!)

With the release of TEXAS HOLD ‘EM, Beyonce became the first Black woman with a number one single on the Hot Country Songs chart. Now, a month on from Cowboy Carter’s release, the album continues to lead the country chart in the US.

In a genre where she once felt unwelcome, Beyoncé has claimed space and pushed boundaries. Cowboy Carter references the legends we know, but more importantly pays homage to the Black origin roots of country and the Black pioneers who led the way in the genre. She’s taken on the role of ‘outlaw’ by challenging gatekeeping and stereotypes, but also by simply telling her own story as a Southern Black woman. And as the artist sings herself, ‘if that ain’t country, tell me what is?’

In the first hour of this week’s show we’ll have some great new releases by Caitlyn Smith, Adeem The Artist and Tyler Childers. We’ll also pay tribute to a great rock n roll icon and friend of country music who died last week. Duane Eddy’s country connections were numerous and as he’s correctly mourned by a generation who danced to his guitar instrumentals so too is his passing grieved by many in the country community where he made his home over the last forty years.

All this in two hours? We shall certainly try by starting at five past eight this Tuesday evening on BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Sounds.