Women Of Country Retrospective

by Jason Warburg


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Those who trade in stereotypes might find it slightly counter-intuitive to realize that of all the genres that make up popular music, the one with the largest contingent of highly successful female artists might just be country.

The singing cowgirl has been part of American legend for too many years to count, but in the 1950s the iconic image found human form in the person of Patsy Cline. The emotion she poured into her performances helped pave the way for contemporaries and successors like Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette and Dolly Parton.

In the 1970s a new generation of female country singers and songwriters came along who drew on rock, pop, blues and folk influences to help create any number of hybrid styles; the same phenomenon repeated in the 90s. All along the way, the image of the singing cowgirl grew farther and farther distant as succeeding generations of women pushed the boundaries of the country genre to its limits and enriched it immeasurably in the process.

And that’s how we came to agree that the theme for our August 2008 retrospective would be the Women Of Country -- long may they reign!

Cline, Lynn, Wynette and their peers inspired second generation female country performers such as Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris, and collectively they all inspired a blossoming outward of the entire genre. While Roseanne Cash, Lucinda Williams and Mary Chapin Carpenter were folding the thoughtful lyricism of folk music into country, Reba McEntire and Shania Twain and the Dixie Chicks were crossing over into pop, and new age talents like k.d. lang, Alison Krauss and Neko Case were harking back to country’s roots while blazing unique musical trails all their own.

This August the Daily Vault will salute the Women Of Country by delivering 26 reviews of 26 different standard-bearers of this genre in a retrospective that will start Monday, August 4 and run seven days a week all the way through Friday, August 29. Many of these reviews will be appearing on the Vault for the first time.

Founded in January 1997, the Daily Vault has featured more than 5,500 reviews of more than 2,600 artists covering almost the entire musical spectrum, written by a volunteer staff from around the world. Previous Artist Of The Month retrospectives have spotlighted the work of artists from Tori Amos to Frank Zappa, including the Beatles, David Bowie, Garth Brooks, Led Zeppelin, Madonna, Metallica, Pearl Jam and many others. Themed retrospectives have included punk, hip-hop, classic soul, classic jazz, Broadway musicals and Christian Contemporary Music.


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