Inspirational Female Country Music Singers

Country music is a genre which often gets a bad reputation. Although many people would happily sing along to John Denver’s ‘Take Me Home Country Roads’ or Johnny Cash’s ‘Ring of Fire’, a lot of people turn their noses up at this particular genre of music. But, for me, it is one of the best genres out there. The brutal honesty of country music, and the heart and soul that goes into the songs is what first drew me in and keeps me listening.

Country music is often stereotyped to be men in Stetsons and cowboy boots, singing about drinking, shooting and fishing, but there is so much more to it than that. Personally, I find the women of country music inspirational as over the years they have helped to transform the genre. There are so many empowering country songs by these female artists, and this article is going to explore what makes some of these artists inspiring - starting with the true queen of country. 

Dolly Parton

 “They just use your mind and they never give you credit."

I think I would be hard pressed to find someone who has never danced or sang along to Dolly Parton’s song '9 to 5’. A staple song for any good night out, and one that is linked to the hilarious film from 1980, starring Dolly herself. Both the song and the film are about women who work for men who take them for granted, and never acknowledge all their hard work. I think this is a song that many women can relate to, even nowadays when gender relations are shifting.

Dolly broke into the country music industry in the late 1960's and has been iconic ever since. She is a prime example of why we should never judge a book by its cover – Dolly herself often jokes about her looks, with quips such as “it costs a lot to look this cheap." Songs such as ‘Dumb Blonde’ are Dolly’s account of why people should take her seriously and look beyond her exterior. Not only is Dolly's own music absolutely brilliant, she has written many songs for other artists. 

Beyond her empowering music and towering presence in the country music industry, Dolly is a philanthropist and does a lot of work for charity. Growing up in a large, loving, but poor family in the Tennessee mountains, Dolly knows what hard work is and knows how to reap its benefits. Dolly is extremely proud of her background, and songs such as ‘Coat of Many Colours’ show how special her upbringing was for her, despite the hardships her family faced. Her own charity 'Imagination Library' provides free books for children, in an effort to improve literacy. All of this serves to make Dolly a true inspiration for me and others, and a true credit to the country music genre. 

Shania Twain

“The best thing about being a woman is the prerogative to have a little fun”

Shania rose to fame in the 1990's with her most famous album 'Come on Over' being released in 1997. This album is full of Shania’s most famous songs, including ‘Man I Feel Like a Woman’, and ‘That Don’t Impress Me Much’. Shania is a female powerhouse who sings incredible songs which promote girl power and freedom. Nearly every woman I know has at some point sang along to Shania’s emblematic ‘Man I Feel Like a Woman’. Her mantra for women to go out, have fun and let loose is one that many can relate to – this song serves as a reminder that being a woman is great, and that we should learn to celebrate ourselves.

Following a successful stint in Vegas, Shania has recently released a new album, which broke into the mainstream radio music channels, as well as the more expected country ones. Her single ‘Life’s About to Get Good’ serves as a reminder to us of how people are strong enough to find a way to get over the struggles in their lives, with just the help of some positive thinking. She sings of how life is a balance between good and bad, and of the need to find personal strength within yourself which is a powerful message. Shania’s incredible career and her brilliant songs help to make her an inspirational country music singer.

Carrie Underwood

“I dug my key into the side of his pretty little souped-up four-wheel drive”

Carrie Underwood rose to fame due to American Idol and won the 2005 competition. Carrie has released multiple albums, all of which are full of brilliant songs that deserve listening to. ‘Before He Cheats’, from her 2005 album Some Hearts, is the ultimate revenge song for anyone who has ever been cheated on. Even those who haven’t experienced this kind of relationship drama are able to appreciate Carrie’s famous girl power anthem.

Her 2015 album 'Storyteller' is inspiring in so many ways as it tackles themes and issues that many women (and men) have faced during their lives, such as the desire to fulfill the expectations our families have of us in ‘The Girl You Think I Am’. Carrie Underwood is a country music legend, and is continuing to release brilliant music and has truly helped to develop the country music genre. 

Kacey Musgraves

“Follow your arrow wherever it points”

Kacey Musgraves is a young female country singer with two albums under her belt, and a third on the way. She is going to be headlining the Saturday night of the London Country to Country Festival this coming weekend. Her song, ‘Follow Your Arrow’, from her 2013 album 'Same Trailer Different Park' is a prime example of an important female country music song that needs to be listened to again and again. In ‘Follow Your Arrow’, Kacey Musgraves sings of the importance of being your own person and not following the crowd. It is a song which moves away from traditional themes of country music, even going so far as to mention rolling up “a joint”.

Kacey is the type of singer who doesn’t shy away from critiquing the backwards aspects of the society which she comes from. Her second album 'Pageant Material' from 2015 and its corresponding titular song contains lyrics about how Kacey doesn’t fit into the stereotype of the southern belle. Her lack of interest in pageants and dedication to remain true to herself is inspirational, and she professes it in a way which remains accepting of different people and their different ways of life. This positive message of following your own path is one that is important for everyone to have in their lives and is one of the reasons we should all love and listen to Kacey’s music.

Maddie and Tae

“We used to get a little respect, now we're lucky if we even get to climb up in your truck”

Maddie and Tae are a pair of young, female, country singers. Not only do they sing and play guitar, they write their own songs. I saw them in concert at the London Country to Country music festival in 2016, and their stage presence and performance was brilliant.

Their most famous release is ‘Girl in a Country Song’. In this song, Maddie and Tae sing about how country music and country men feel the need to stereotype and objectify women. With references to two of the country greats, Conway Twitty and George Strait, Maddie and Tae remind us of where country music has gone wrong. For anyone who wants a laugh, and to see some true female country power in action, make sure you head over to YouTube and check out the video for this song. It will you give you the chance to remember how great women are, the power of female country music, and to see brilliant scenes such as the one seen below!