Where are the women of New Country/Americana? – Discuss

A couple of years ago I read an article about the Country Music Awards which referred to an artist called Chris Stapleton – he stole the show with two duet performances with Justin Timberlake (I have a secret crush on Justin Timberlake btw).  I’d never heard of him.  As you’ve hopefully now learned from these posts, my next move was to check out the impressively bearded man.  He has a decent heritage as a successful songwriter for other artists and had recently released his own solo album called Traveller (new album due soon).  It is the most gorgeous collection of soul searching tunes about life and love.  Soon after my introduction to Stapleton, a friend with a huge music knowledge and much tidier beard than all the fellas in the pictures, suggested tracks by The White Buffalo and a group called Blackberry Smoke.

The White Buffalo, or Jake Smith to his mum, has a larger solo output than Stapleton. He drew a wider audience after some of his music featured in the popular biker-club TV series Sons of Anarchy.  His most recent album, Love and the Death of Damnation, came out at about the same time as Stapleton’s Traveller.  His versatile voice lends a mournful tone to his musical stories which feature a gritty reality at their core.  Again – beautiful.

And so to Blackberry Smoke; a loveable crew of southern rockers with real variety to their repertoire.  They can do heavyish rock, classic country sound and funkier soulful stuff.  There’s often a little glint of humour about their output.  Apparently they are great live and have a reputation for being a hard working band.

I love the music these artists offer up, but I know next to nothing else about Americana/Southern Rock/Country.  The other day I was listening to Chris Stapleton’s new single and wondered where all the women of this genre are.  I’m not talking the old style female country singers we all know.  I’m talking the new generation.  Where are they?  I could go and do my own homework, but where’s the fun in that, when I have you guys to help me out?  I know at least 2 of you will know something about this.

Yet again ‘Spillers I come to you to fill in the gaps in my musical knowledge.  What can you tell me about all this and who else should I be tracking down?



65 thoughts on “Where are the women of New Country/Americana? – Discuss

  1. I’ve only just finished your math rock playlist (the instrumental one – really, really liked it, though now need the explanatory maths less), and now there’s some new Americana for me to discover? Don’t know these names – it’s a pretty much inexhautable genre, and I like almost all that I hear, though it sometimes gets a little samey after a while.

    Good question on the women though… Gillian Welch is the obvious one that springs to mind:

    • Sorry, I appear to have posted a link to the Spillyear 2011 playlist, rather than just “Tennessee” by Gillian Welch (just in case you think I’m suggesting Lana del Ray is alt-country).

      • That is really lovely Barney. Thank you!
        Yep, you have to keep up around here – trying to get some momentum going again…your Spillyear series is what got me coming back here when I first found this place.

    • Thanks Ravi, that’s really interesting. So, I wasn’t imagining it, women artists in this genre have not been getting the same exposure as their male counterparts. The article seems to suggest that will change this year. I hope so. The article mentions various artists I will check out. I think nilpferd has linked below to The Guardian article you refer to. Will read that next. Allison Krauss of course is top drawer!

  2. Not an area I know well, but I can strongly recommend Eilen Jewell, top class purveyor of country tinged Americana. And it was a long time ago, but my fave alt-country album is still “Absolute torch and twang” from k d Lang.

    • Don’t worry, I will definitely get around to writing the embarrassing acid jazz collection post!
      That is a really interesting article and plenty there for me to discover. Thanks!

  3. Chris Stapleton’s debut album is brilliant and I wasn’t aware that he had a second out soon – looking forward to listening to that.

    Have listened to the other two groups also. A while ago when I participated on RR someone suggested White Buffalo but I cannot remember who it was, which was how I heard of him originally.

    As for women of new country, perhaps Lori McKenna (courtesy of one tincanman), though she might be too ‘folky’ but has a mighty fine voice: What’s One More Time

    As for groups with long hair and beards try Whiskey Myers Dogwood

    • You will probably have heard of The White Buffalo via a nomination by mrbadexample/Scott. He’s nominated several, so I’ve challenged him to nominate one every week this year. So far he’s only missed the “Britain” subject – I gave him a pass that week 😉
      Just listened to a couple of tracks by Lori McKenna – not too folky at all – I really like it! Like the Whiskey Myers too – thanks!

    • So, @leavitallbehind9 did you listen to the Chris Stapleton yet? I’m really loving it. I’ve listened to it twice now and it really showcases his voice again. Some very sad tunes, the last one gets you in the guts. Anyway, volume 2 coming out later this year. Double Stapleton treat.

  4. Lennon and Maisy Stella: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-lLlEtoAS8 (Actually “Nashville” was a great TV series, kinda Country soap opera but it didn’t matter about the plot, some of the female singers were great and I loved it for the music (even though I don’t class myself as a “Country” fan) – I prefer Bluegrass.

    • Oh my word, Ali. That is just gorgeous! I love that song anyway, but that is a fab version. I missed Nashville – I don’t watch much TV tbh – literally cannot fit it in (although I did tonight). How sad is that??!

  5. I’m American, but i don’t know a whole lot about Americana / country. I hang more towards the folk end as opposed to the country end. What i know is gernerally what i’ve stumbled on, or collaborations with more familiar artists. Here’s a few that i sort of know about. One commonality of female Americana / country singers – whatever you think of the music, it’s tough to find a shitty voice among them.

    Neko Case (With New Pornographers) – Barney can tell you a lot more about Neko Case than i know.
    Ashley Munroe (with the Reconteurs)
    The Band Perry
    Sierra Hull
    Taylor Swift (with The Civil Wars)

    • I’ve only come across Neko Case due to her collaboration with Lang et al. This is interesting though. I’ve never come across The New Pornographers before, so will have to check them out.
      I really like The Raconteurs – but I like most things Jack White does and yet I’ve never heard that one or perhaps I’ve just not properly listened to it. She has a very lovely voice that goes well on that track.
      I’m afraid I didn’t like The Band Perry – the video is too stylised and I wasn’t keen on the song really.
      I think in the very early days of me coming here you added Sierra Hull’s Black River as an Earworm, certainly I first heard it via you previously – haunting.
      This song was my first intro to The Civil Wars way back when. Their voices work so well together and they have made some beautiful songs.

  6. When I saw there were 31 posts I reckoned that my suggestions would be already mentioned – and indeed the very great Kacey Musgraves has a shout above from barbryn – she is really good. In the same kind of vein, but been around a little longer and now with full broken-hearted big relationship backstory is Miranda Lambert. Where to start ? Well she appears to be peaking every time she releases an album. This is from last year’s wonderful post-divorce collection The Weight Of These Wings. When you’re listening to country radio and Miranda comes on the quality level always goes UP.

    • Thanks magicman – I’ve saved the album to listen to when I’m back at work on Tuesday. In fact I think I now have a whole day’s worth of music to check out. Thanks very much for the suggestion.

  7. From my personal country archives – after Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn, Kitty Wells and Patsy Cline, you can dive into New Country as it was termed in the 1980s, when the boys : Dwight Yoakum, Lyle Lovett, Steve Earle et al had serious competition from Roseanne Cash, Nanci Griffith, The Judds and Reba McEntire. Later Trisha Yearwood and Tift Merritt. Emmylou of course still going strong and not forgetting the Late Great Townes Van Zandt. But here is Nanci Griffith for you Sarah. Fan flipping tastic

    the original (different man singing 2nd verse) makes me cry

  8. Late to the party as always. This is country – contemporary country mind you – rather than Americana, but…well, there’s always room for a proper earworm.


  9. Hmmm. Who you really, really want for this sort of thing is Elle King.

    All kinds of excellent.

    That’s a pop music offering. She’s got other more…feisty stuff.


  10. If you google clever new women of country or somesuch you’ll find no shortage of leads and essays about how the new crop is steeped in small town roots and middle America and so now Nashville and other patent falsehoods.

    Check out Zoe Muth from that known country hotbed 🙂 of Seattle.

  11. This just doesn’t want to post!
    Lost a post so if it appears you can vote on which version was written more eloquently 🙂

    Country Music I’m Talking to You sums up my disdain for 99.99%of contemporary country.

    The saving country music blog is a good, snippy barometer on these things.

  12. Jenny Lewis should be mentioned. She sang in Rilo Kiley and has collaborated with a few people, but my favourite is Rabbit Fur Coat with the Watson Twins, which I still think of a recent album but was actually released about 10 years ago.

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