Samantha Bee dedicated country music to her TBS show Full Frontal With Samantha Bee on Wednesday night (January 15).
Bee sent two correspondents to Nashville to discuss the issue with some prominent women in country music, including Brandi Carlile, CMT’s Leslie Fram, Margo Price, Tanya Tucker, and Mickey Guyton. The segment points out that while Carlile and Tucker have received Grammy nominations for 2020 and that artists continue to produce the best-known music of the genre, it has recently become increasingly difficult for women to gain a foothold on country radio.
“There’s really no one to point your finger at,” says Carlile. “Whoever listens to country music, who loves country music, regardless of where you fall into the political spectrum or who you are, the question arises: what should your daughter know about yourself? And if you don’t get country music if you do that you can’t get on country radio is a problem. “
Fram blames broadcaster Keith Hill and the so-called “Tomatogate” scandal that rocked country music in 2015 after comparing women in country music to tomatoes on lettuce. Hill argued that female artists should be a supplement to a diet that should consist primarily of male artists, and that playing too many women would lead to falling ratings. This sparked a fierce argument, but things have worsened rather than improved for women in country music in recent years.
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Margo Price belongs to an avant-garde of women who are simply on country radio to achieve their career goals.
“They say ‘tomato’, I say ‘fuck you’,” she says, adding that she has been blacklisted by much of the mainstream state apparatus.
“My music was about real life problems and they just didn’t like what I had to say,” she explains. “But there are people in rural America who have to hear these songs, especially young women.”
Guyton says that she sees herself as part of a cadre of artists who are not only committed to women but also to black interpreters in country music.
“We really only pave our own way,” she says, adding, “we deserve to be here. I get so many messages from girls who say,” I’m so happy to see someone who looks like this like me. “It’s a win for me.”
Price went on stage to debut a bold new song by segment and to perform “Stone Me”, their first new song in two years.
“Love me, hate me / desecrate me / call me a bitch, then call me baby / you don’t know me / you don’t own me / yes that’s no way to stone me,” she sang. Take a look at this appearance in the following clip.
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