Kelsea Ballerini just got invited to be a member of the Grand Ole Opry. For those of you outside of the country music bubble that I seem to constantly inhabit, the general consensus is that this is the biggest honour in the genre. Becoming a member of the Opry means that this artist has the opportunity to play the Opry whenever they want, as well as being on a list of Opry Members that includes greats such as Alan Jackson and Reba McEntire. Many deserving artists have yet to receive this honour. But last month, the Opry chose to grant membership to a pretty new artist in country music, one that has constantly received criticism for not being a truly country artist. But in a twist that few people saw coming, she’s now been accepted by the pinnacle of the country music community. The only way to come to terms with this, and to figure out why an artist so constantly criticized has been deemed legitimate by such an honour is to delve into her most recent record, Unapologetically, Ballerini’s sophomore record that came out in 2017.
As a country music fan, the only way to listen to the new Maren Morris album and actually enjoy it is to pretend that she didn’t release this album under the genre label ‘country.’ Genres are so old-school at this point, but there is no possible way that this album could ever be classified as country music. Morris didn’t even try. But honestly, that’s what’s so cool about her. She could have thrown some fiddles and banjo in there and gone to the traditional country community, shouting, “Look! I’m country!” But she didn’t. She just went ahead and released a pop album. Half of me thinks that’s the most badass move in the world, and half of me wants to get really angry about the fact that she’s literally dancing on Merle Haggard and George Jones’ graves by trying to market this album in a genre where it clearly doesn’t belong. It’s a fine line. But that’s it, that’s all I’m going to say about genre because if I say any more about how this record isn’t country, you’ll think I’m a fifty-five-year-old man living in his parents basement ranting about the “good ol’ days” of country music. And I like to think that I’m a progressive young woman, so I’ll cut myself off.
So it's been a while. I'm perfectly aware.
Maren Morris has left "The Middle" in the past and has finally begun the process of releasing her second album.
Morgan Johnston is always playing Writer’s Rounds. For those of you not familiar with the term, a ‘Writer’s Round’ is when a group of songwriters take the stage at a venue in Nashville and simply go around and play the songs they have been writing. Hence the term, ‘Writer’s Round.’ Johnston is an artist, but being an artist includes being a songwriter, at least to her. So it's not uncommon to see her playing one.
Singer/songwriter Emily Hackett just dropped another new song from her upcoming record. Following the more upbeat tunes "Nostalgia" and "Good Intentions," "Josie" takes on a more somber tone.
...and we're back.
After a brief hiatus, Queens of Country is back, here to inform you of the great music we've been listening to this summer that you don't want to miss. Without further ado, here are the tunes that stuck with us the most this summer and you can take with you into the fall.
In Cam’s latest song, she questions the elusive concept of ‘happiness.’ How do we get to that pinnacle of life? How much are we willing to sacrifice in order to find it? And what, in actuality, is it? Do we even know it when we find it?
From American Idol to her first number one song last year, Lauren Alaina’s journey has not been an easy one. Her first record, Wildflower, was released shortly after Idol, full of songs she didn't write and songs she rarely plays out anymore, save the uptempo “Georgia Peaches.” A couple of singles were released following the record, but none were successful and Alaina fell off the map for a while. But in 2017, she re-emerged with her new record Road Less Travelled, one of 2017’s best.
Alabama-born Regan Stewart has only just released her debut single, but she’s already known around Nashville for her sweet, unapologetically twangy voice. She’s played with the Song Suffragettes several times, released two songs with coreNashville, and reliably posts a cover on Instagram every Tuesday, filmed in her bathtub (makes for some great acoustics, and a compelling hashtag.) She took the time to answer some questions about her upcoming debut single “Stereotypical Girls.”