Eagle-eyed followers might have noticed no poll this week. That’s because I really wanted to share this playlist – this week, especially. In honour of International Women’s Day last Monday, my #OutlawHour show over on ARC Radio was dedicated solely to female artists. It’s been a tough week, news-wise, for women, and that’s not something I can talk about here. What I can talk about is empowering women, encouraging them to use their voices and embrace their strength, and championing them to succeed.
That’s a mindset deeply embedded in the outlaw movement. This article from The Boot explains the origins of the movement: how artists were passengers in their own careers, playing second fiddle (excuse the pun) to whatever their management and label team wanted. The movement started with artists taking back control. There’s plenty of discussion about whether ‘outlaw country’ has a sound of its own – some say it does, others say it’s not quite so simple.
Regardless of a shared sound, there’s something unique and intangible that connects the music of Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash to the music of Miranda Lambert, Lindi Ortega and yes, even Mickey Guyton. Outlaw country began with artists no longer content with the conventions and ideals of being pigeon-holed and oppressed and setting out to forge their own path. It’s not necessarily about breaking rules, but about making your own.
So, with that in mind, for our 48th weekly playlist, I’m sharing outlaw women. I hope you love it as much as I do – and if you do, please show these incredible women some respect and love; stream their music, purchase their music, follow them on their social media channels and support their careers.
My first highlight this week is Hell On Heels. The first time I heard this song, I’d never heard of Angaleena Presley or Ashley Monroe. I was a fan of Miranda Lambert, so I thought I’d give the song a go – and it hit hard. It was something different, unique, and sonically, it was everything I felt like I was missing. I still love it, but it hits different now. It hits different because these three women have come together for nothing more than the joy of making music together, and they’re speaking out about real things. In their other songs, they explore family dynamics, the hardships of life as a travelling musician, the constant struggle of being underestimated simply because they’re women – the list goes on. All three of these amazing women have had songs played on #OutlawHour, as Pistol Annies and as solo artists.
My second highlight is Voodoo Doll. Ashley McBryde has such a fantastic story – from underestimated to success despite oppression – the very heart of what outlaw means. McBryde makes her music her way and hasn’t compromised those values on her way to the top of the charts or the industry’s hearts. She won everyone over by being audaciously and unapologetically herself, and for finding new doors to open whenever one closed.
My final highlight this week is Outlaw. This is fitting not just because of this week’s theme, or because Emilia Quinn is both this week’s featured artist on our social media, but because her most recent single is all about empowering women – and she brought along an entire army of inspirational ladies to join her. For an artist so young to have a song so synonymous with their name so early in their career is rare, but it’s a testament to Emilia’s songwriting and her connection with the music she creates. Oh, and you should see her perform this live! What a treat!
I hope you enjoyed something a little bit different this week. Leave me a comment here or on social media and let me know your highlights! Next week, we’ll be back to our regular format of readers choosing the playlists. Don’t forget, if you have a playlist idea, you can submit it here!