Much has been made about the salad/tomato female country singer comments. It’s a sad, brutal reality for female artists, these guys just delivered the facts coldly, directly and oddly. The good news for fans of our kind of music is that country radio doesn’t really impact or dictate what we listen to or dig. We don’t discriminate where it comes from or whom it comes from as long as it meets our lofty expectations. As fans of this scene of music we long ago gave up the bastion of country radio as our sole source of discovering new music. We migrated to web and social channels years before that was common. Word of mouth and a few tweets from people you respect are generally all it takes for you to check out an album or artist.
Texas is currently blessed with an amazing crop of talented female artists.
At the forefront of the current trends in Texas are artists that redefine what Texas music is. What country music is for that matter. They push forward, invent and reinvent. Chief among these artists are:
–Jamie Wilson. Jamie’s latest record, Holidays and Wedding Rings, is the best collection of tunes that have ever surrounded her achingly beautiful vocals. That’s truly saying something when she has a catalog of solo, Trishas and Gougers material that would make a solid career for most songwriters. The music is a bit more lively here and the songs a bit more lived in. This album is eerily reminiscent to my ears of vintage EmmyLou Harris. I can think of other accolades for an artist, but being compared to EmmyLou Harris is hard to top…and it is a well deserved comparison.
–Haley Cole. This young lady has been stealing stages across the state for the past 18 months or so. Buzz began heating up last summer and is starting to reach a fever pitch. Haley has a voice that mixes power, range, sass and soul which she completely owns. Her album, Illusions, has been one that has been in near constant rotation for me since it first hit my ears. She recently signed a big time publishing deal and it won’t be long before she’s not only Texas’ next big thing…but the entire country’s.
–Courtney Patton. Courtney’s music is winsome, haunting, classic and beautiful. Her latest album, So This Is Life, is hitting the streets next week and picks up right where her last effort stopped. Smart, edgy and progressive without losing its solid country home. Patton writes and sings songs that will stick with you long after the notes have wafted into the atmosphere. Her lyrics and melodies crawl inside your head and stay there.
–Kayla Ray. A honky-tonk throwback firecracker. Relatively unknown outside of her central Texas roots, she’s drawn comparisons to other stone cold troubadours. I’d say she’s a cross between Dale Watson and Miranda Lambert if that makes sense to you. Excited to showcase her at Greenfest this year and let people experience her music for the first time.
–Kylie Rae Harris. KRH possesses a folksy-pop yin and yang. She has as much in common with artists like Sara Bareilles and Colbie Caillat as she does her country contemporaries. Kyle’s voice is flexible and yearning. She is able to finely tune her instrument to whatever the song or mood call for.
There are other artists pushing boundaries and making great music currently, but these stick out for me at the moment. Male, female. Lettuce, tomato. Good, bad. It makes no difference. What truly matters is the heart, spirit, soul, motivation, authenticity and music. Art over product any day of the week. Music is a big ol’ garden, dig it.