One of the most common misunderstandings when it comes to Black performers in country music is the legacy of Ray Charles. Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2022, his legacy is regularly diminished.
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.
In 1974 while a sophomore in college at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Reba McEntire performed the National Anthem at the National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City, or NFR.
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.
Sure, there might be bigger things to worry about in life and country music. But if there ever was a year to feature country music on the Super Bowl Halftime Show, it would be this one.
In the current country music landscape, it is not country radio, it’s not the major labels on Music Row, it’s not even the media, or pop or hip-hop artists trying to break into the country mainstream that are blurring the lines of what country music is more than ever before. It is Apple Music above all entities.
Chris Stapleton needs no stepping stone or discovery at this moment in his career, but we all know he will slay the National Anthem on Sunday, because this is what Chris Stapleton does. He’s such a good singer, it’s one of the reasons purists love to claim he isn’t country.
In a recent behind-the-scenes clip as part of this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Maren Morris felt then needed to apologize to the drag queens competing on this season’s show on behalf of country music. But Maren Morris has some specific things she should apologize for personally.
Though the film means well, and is generally well-made with superb cinematography and high production value, the approach and information conveyed in the film is problematic to say the least, actively participating in erasing the legacy of Black country artists in a film that purports to be championing them.
Chapel Hart have been around for a while now, originally forming in 2014 and releasing their first of two LPs in 2019. They are also one of the most egregious victims of discrimination in country music. No, not just because they are Black, because they are country.
The Grammy Awards Premier Ceremony transpired Sunday afternoon, and though some worthy artists and valued projects walked away with deserved awards, it’s hard not to describe 2022’s Grammy haul in country and roots as anything but somewhat deflating.
Mickey Guyton was all live, and offered up a stirring, spectacular, and respectful rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner” with just enough flair to let her personality and talents shine through. She nailed it. Whether it’s one for the ages we’ll have to let time decide.
Mickey Guyton has been chosen as the artist to perform the National Anthem at the 2022 Super Bowl on Sunday, February 13th, and it most certainly will be a big moment for Mickey Guyton, and for country music. Not all National Anthem performances are built the same.
Just like so many of the characters in today’s popular music space, Jason Isbell has transformed from one of the most universally-revered independent artists of our time, to being reviled by large swaths of the listening population for his active and often ostentatious displays.
Far and away, the best performance of the night was turned in by an artist entirely outside of the country music fold when Jennifer Hudson took the stage to sing Willie Nelson’s “Night Life,” leading into “You Are My Sunshine,” with assistance from Chris Stapleton on guitar.
I know what you’re going to say. “NeW yOrK CiTY!” like that guy in the old Pace Picante Sauce commercial. Or if you pride yourself in having any sort of semblance of taste, maybe you’re wondering why anyone in 2021 would still be listening to mainstream country radio at all.
In 2015, when Mickey Guyton released her debut single “Better Than You Left Me,” she symbolized hope in the mainstream of country music for a host of reasons. Similar to how we regard artists such as Lainey Wilson and Carly Pearce today, Mickey Guyton was a bright spot.
So often identity-based media coverage and awards are not about the artists themselves. These media members, outlets, and awards institutions use these artists as tokens and sometimes unwitting pawns to signal their virtue to the public and their peers in the industry.
The national Memorial Day concert each year broadcast on PBS doesn’t always include notable names from the country music world. But in 2021, it included three of them, who each turned in marquee performances. Here are the performances of Vince Gill, Mickey Guyton, and Alan Jackson.
Some top country music talent has been tapped to perform at the National Memorial Day concert that broadcasts annually on PBS. Not always so inclusive of country performers, this year Alan Jackson is slated to be one of the centerpieces of the presentation as he gets ready to release a new album.
It wasn’t just the arrangement, the cool special guests, the poignant setting, and the timing of it all, it’s how it all conspired to create a special moment and a rather spectacular performance that in the throes of the otherwise mediocre ACM Awards really shined out as something sincere.
Every year the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville seats a variety of names from throughout the country and roots world in what they call their American Currents exhibit. This is the opportunity for artists that you may not normally see an exhibit for get an opportunity to be featured.
As some of the dust begins to settle from the fallout of Morgan Wallen’s inappropriate and offensive use of the N-word, there’s an addendum that needs to be addressed in regards to the accusations of a double standard pervasive in country music.
“Every precaution was taken. I think it’s unfortunate that people are out there crusading to stir up some mud. Because I really don’t think the CMAs were negligent in any way. Every time we darkened the door, we got tested,” says Charley Pride’s longtime manager, bass player, and close friend.