In 2024, the 2nd Annual Key Western Fest in Key West, Florida did something quite remarkable. In an environment where the country music industry continues to struggle booking women, they booked a festival entirely of women.
Jo Dee Messina
A festival that was founded to cater to the resurgent interest in ’90s country picked up on something important: the ’90s weren’t just the last time popular country sounded country, it was also the last time when country women played a major role.
The 2nd Annual Key Western Fest is going all women, bringing country legends and Hall of Famers like Wynonna Judd, Tanya Tucker, Jo Dee Messina, Pam Tillis, Terri Clark, and more to paradise for a 4-day excursion.
Kimberly Perry of The Band Perry is back, and it’s almost like she never left. The opening salvo of her solo career after splitting with her brothers is a reworking of the family band’s first #1 song.
If we’re being honest, country music continues to improve across the board, including in the mainstream as we continue to get farther and farther away from the Bro-Country era. But there are still some stragglers and terrible songs out there that are worth exposing to the sunlight and watching them whither.
Let’s just start this off by drudging the big elephant right out in the middle of the room and shining a big ‘ol spotlight on it. Mike Curb, Herr Führer of Curb Records—the man who has made millions off of the indentured servitude of many of country music’s most famous names, has thrown his money behind the much-ballyhooed preservation of Music Row’s historic Studio ‘A’ in Nashville.
Curb Records is releasing yet another album from Tim McGraw; an artist that hasn’t called Curb Records home officially for over 2 years. The album will be called Love Story and will feature Tim McGraw’s “12 biggest love songs,” two previously-unreleased recordings, and will be released exclusively through Wal-Mart on February 2nd, 2014.
Mike Curb’s repressive stance towards artists and his sharky dealings with other labels is a given amongst the informed country music community, with his latest ploy being the release of a duets album from Tim McGraw two weeks before the former Curb artist is slated to make his debut on Big Machine Records. But Hank3 and Tim McGraw are just the tip of the iceberg.
Curb Records’ talent roster continues to contract. The latest defector is Jo Dee Messina, whose charted 9 #1 hits and sold more than 5 million records worldwide during her 18-year career. The reason? Just like Tim McGraw, Hank Williams III, Clay Walker, Lyle Lovett, and LeAnn Rimes to name a few, Jo Dee Messina is fed up with Curb refusing to release her music.
As Nashville and Nashville-based entities are erecting what will be landmarks, before taking money from Mike Curb, maybe they should take to heart the headlines that have hounded the Mike Curb name over the last few years, and ask themselves if that name is a legacy their building, their institution, or the City of Nashville wants to tie their future to.