Gone Country: Texas Country Part III – Where My Girls At?
A weekly column about all things country.Posted by Melissa Daniels
Last week I dove into the top 50 records on the Texas Regional Radio Report. Great. Fine. Dandy. Educational. Enjoying. HOWEVER, I was thoroughly disappointed to discover that of those top 50 records, only two were female artists. Um… Where my girls at?
Inevitably, I’ve gone on a bit of a feministic tirade this past week. Two records out of 50? Are you kidding me?! That was about enough of a kick in the you know what that I needed in order to spend a little time digging up some female Texas Country vocalists. The women featured below are forces to be reckoned with. They’re not just pretty faces who can carry a tune, but are some powerhouse women who will knock you back on your heels, if you don’t have a steady stance.
So, without further ado, here are a handful of records from the lovely ladies I’m enjoying this week.
This song had me hooked from first listen. I originally heard “Ex-Old Man” circulating the country radio airwaves here in Seattle, but recently learned that Kristen Kelly is considered a Texas Country artist (She hails from Lorena, TX). Admittedly, there are still some things I’m trying to figure out when it comes to distinguishing Texas Country from Nashville Country. This record is one of those that I wouldn’t be able to just pick out of a chart and put a label on. Regardless, Kristen’s voice is not pure and white as snow in the innocent sense. She’s definitely got heart and soul behind those pipes. The true voice of a woman who’s lived a lot of life. “Ex-Old Man” is her debut single off her forthcoming album. If you’re looking to see Kelly live, she’ll be on tour this year on Brad Paisley‘s Virtual Reality World Tour.
Major props to Bri Bagwell, who is a full on independent artist. No record label, no million dollar budget; just raw, down-home talent. Her album Banned From Santa Fe, had it’s title track infiltrate the Texas Music Chart for several weeks as the only female artist on the list back in 2011. Easily my favorite Texas Country female artist, Bri has silky smooth pipes and weaves humor in her songwriting. “Angel Days” and “Whiskey” are two of my favorites, but the record that really had me laughing was “The Fisherman Song.” Enjoy that above.
Identical twin sisters, April and Amy Rankin, grew up in Portland, Texas. They spent much of their childhood and adolescence singing all over their hometown, but never took music seriously until after attending college at Texas A&M. Amy suffered a brain tumor accompanied by heartbreak which finally served as the nudge the sisters needed to set out taking the Texas Country music scene by storm. In 2010 the duo released their first EP Headaches and Heartbreaks. The harmonies in “I’m Ready” are beautiful, but “Breakdown” is the real gem off their debut EP. In 2011, the twins released their second EP, Silver Lining, and in my opinion, fully came into their talents. These girls have beautiful voices, and harmonies to make you weak in the knees, but it wasn’t until releasing Silver Lining that their lyrics seemed to catch up with their swooning tunes. Their latest single “Rain” is currently sitting pretty in the #22 spot on the Texas Regional Radio Report. Check out that video above.
Borderline shocking that this voice could come out of a beauty queen face like that, but sure enough, Charla Corn is the full package. She has a background in competing in American Idol and hosting for CMT, but she’s also got a sweet surrender to her voice. Her first album More Than I Should was released in 2009 and featured four singles that hit the Texas music charts. Her latest single “Don’t Mind Missing You” is currently #63 on the Texas Regional Radio Report off her latest album titled Big T-Shirt EP, of which she’s written all her own music.
Truth be told, I’m not a fan of this song, but Joni Rae Jack is out there, conquering a rough start to adulthood, after having her daughter at 19 and being left alone. Off her self-titled debut album, “Wild One” is the one record not to be missed. I could easily do without the rest. Her album sounds like a cross between, 90s pop (think Whitney & Selena) and some mild country riffs. One of the most interesting things about her is the fact that her daughter is an award winning fiddle player.
Finally! Another brunette in the business! Aubrey Lynn England has built her singing career on Raisin’ Hell, and that’s exactly why her first album, released in 2011, was titled just that. Now, while I’m not a fan of the album (yes, I listened to the whole thing), I do enjoy her latest single “Handle On My Handle.”
Front women Andie Kay Joyner and Heather Stalling built a combined decade of music experience as a vocalist and award-winning fiddler before coming together to combine talents in Blacktop Gypsy. Their latest single “Traci,” featured on their album Whirlwind, has a rough cut sound, that oozes pure unadulterated country jackpot. The entire album is a gold mine that will knock you off your feet.
Although she says to have the desire to attract the housewives who are stuck in the house all day, Jenny Simms has a rock solid voice. She’s a power house, that’s for certain, and you can’t ignore her shove in her single “Girl Of A Gun.” Her most recent record “A Reason To Come Home To You” is hanging on in its tenth week on the Texas Regional Radio Report.