September 23, 2014

Country Music Rebels: It's a [feminist] family tradition.

There's been a lot of discussion over the past year about "Bro Country", country that celebrates the All-American male, often with overtly misogynistic tones.
But there have been several feminist voices within country rising up to create an alternate narrative--powerful female voices that refuse to let our experiences be lost in the music.
I ran across this quote about Kacey Musgraves, and it points out how she continues a long feminist tradition.
Now, country’s newest rising star, Kacey Musgraves, has taken the torch from many before her and is blazing through the country scene with a message about gay marriage—love who you love. Not only did her album “Same Trailer Different Park” win Best Country Album at the Grammy’s this year, Musgraves single “Follow Your Arrow” tells fans to “kiss lots of boys, or kiss lots of girls, if that’s something you’re into.”
I am kind of disappointed that the rest of the article only names three more recent country singers to prove this tradition: Martina Mcbride, Faith Hill, and the Dixie Chicks.
Why am I disappointed? Because the tradition of feminist thought in country music goes far further back.
Dolly Parton sang "Just Because I'm a Woman" in 1968:
I can see you're disappointed
By the way you look at me
And I'm sorry that I'm not
The woman you thought I'd be

Yes, I've made my mistakes
But listen and understand
My mistakes are no worse than yours
Just because I'm a woman

So when you look at me
Don't feel sorry for yourself
Just think of all the shame
You might have brought somebody else

Just let me tell you this
Then well both know where we stand
My mistakes are no worse than yours
Just because I'm a woman
Loretta Lynn sang "The Pill" in 1975:
You wined me and dined me when I was your girl
Promised if I'd be your wife you'd show me the world
But all I`'e seen of this old world is a bed and a doctor bill
I'm tearing down your brooder house 'cause now I've got the pill

All these years I've stayed at home while you had all your fun
And every year that's gone by another baby's come
There's gonna be some changes made right here on Nursery Hill
You've set this chicken your last time 'cause now I've got the pill

Voices like Musgraves and others--Maddie & Tae have also been lauded recently--aren't carrying on a new tradition, but a deep rich one, one that's woven into the storytelling of the genre.

I'm excited to see what they come up with.

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