Discussion: Carrie Underwood, Shania Twain and Gender in Country Music

by

August 29, 2008

I fear this post won’t quite live up to its ambitious title, and I realize that I’m stirring the tempest pot a bit by putting those two artists in the same sentence.   But the tone that surfaces whenever Carrie Underwood is discussed here is something that I find increasingly frustrating, so I’m going to talk about it. Hopefully, I’ll get a meaningful conversation going along the way.

Readers of this site know that I write a lot about women in country music.  Part of that is because the majority of my favorite artists are female, and part of it is because I have a sensitivity to gender issues as a whole.  It’s impossible to be an educator and not pick up on the way that societal messages are distilled through the media and our own cultural traditions.   What’s always amazing to me is how popular culture both mirrors and reinforces such things.

Witness the recent attempt to make Carrie Underwood and Jessica Simpson seem like rivals.   Pitting young female artists against each other in the gossip pages is nothing new, especially when you can make it out like they’re fighting over a man.   Even more popular is the “aging female star is threatened by the young new starlet” storyline.    That was the subtext that made the silliness over Faith Hill’s on-camera joke at the CMA Awards gain traction in the media, even though Hill can be seen giggling and laughing right before she did the fake outrage bit.

Earlier on in Underwood’s career, an attempt was made to turn an innocuous comment by Wynonna into a criticism of Underwood’s music, with the reporter noting that Underwood was “teary-eyed” but not bothering to get a quote from Underwood herself.   The construct is a two-for-one here: older women get to be shown as bitter and threatened by younger women, while the young woman herself is portrayed as a helpless victim.  All of it is constructed from whole cloth.

What’s even more frustrating, though, is seeing such silliness internalized by the fans of female artists, who divide themselves into camps, cutting down one female artist to praise another.   In recent weeks, right here in the comment threads, Carrie Underwood has been unfavorably compared to Shania Twain, Miranda Lambert and Sara Evans, with fans of those artists giving their various reasons why Underwood is not worthy of her current level of success, and how her achievements are unimpressive compared to these other women.

Guess what?  I’ve heard it all before.   I remember when Shania Twain first burst on to the scene.   Well, I bought her first album, which had a decent set of singles but was largely forgettable.   But for all intents and purposes, her career began with The Woman in Me.    Once that album started selling, the insults came in full force.

She’s a studio creation! (She’d been singing on Music City Tonight for the past two years.)  Her husband’s the only reason she’s popular! (Her album was the biggest hit he’d had in almost a decade.)  She’s not really writing those songs, he is! (The songs were all written in the clear voice of a woman of her generation.)  She’s using sex to sell her records!  (Women were the vast majority of her record buyers, and that belly button didn’t help her first album at retail at all.)

I’ll never forget the year that she presented at the Grammys with Patty Loveless.   This was back in the country newsgroup days, a primitive version of the blogs and forums we have now.   One commenter noted, “Patty must be sick to her stomach having to stand next to Shania Twit.”    Over and over again, she would be compared unfavorably to Mary Chapin Carpenter, Trisha Yearwood and Pam Tillis, all great artists who were presumed by their fans to be more deserving of Twain’s success.

Any of this sound familiar?  It should.   Carrie Underwood’s been the most successful female solo artist to come along since Shania Twain.   Her debut album sold more than seven million copies. Only two other women have pulled that off: Twain (twice), and Faith Hill.   It’s the top-selling country album of the decade.

“Before He Cheats” was the biggest country crossover hit in many years, and her appeal is so diverse that she’s appeared in ads for Skecher’s, Hershey’s, Vitamin Water and Nintendo.   I took some heat for calling her an ambassador for the format, but I stand by that. She is the most visible face of country music right now, and she wears her membership in the country music community proudly, even to the point of not remixing her songs for pop radio.  Not even the Dixie Chicks stood firm on that one.

Yet like they did for Twain, the criticisms have come in for Carrie Underwood.   She’s only popular because she was on American Idol! (She’s sold far more records than any other winner.)   She’s a Nashville creation, being told what to sing!  (She co-wrote three of the hits on her latest album.)   She’s not really country! (Her second record is more traditional than the first, and there’s more fiddle and steel in her stage show than Kenny Chesney’s and Keith Urban’s combined.)

Part of such attacks comes with the territory of being the biggest star out there, but it bothers me to see fans of other female artists do it.  Over the past decade, women have been given less time on country radio than any period since the early sixties, despite consistently selling records with less radio support.   Miranda Lambert had sold 1.5 million albums before she even cracked the top ten.   Alison Krauss is one of the genre’s top-selling artists, and radio won’t touch her unless she’s singing with a male artist.

Instead of cutting Underwood down, she needs to be pointed to as an example of how women artists are important for country music.   Other than Garth Brooks, it has been the female artists who have shown the most ability to expand the fanbase of country music.    Carrie Underwood is merely the latest example of this.  Her success should be touted as a reason to play more women.  By cutting her down and minimizing her talents and achievements, the argument is being made by these fans that their favorites should take her place.

Miranda Lambert is a brilliant talent with strengths completely different from Carrie Underwood’s.  She shouldn’t replace Carrie on the radio dial; she should join her.   Let some of the interchangeable men step aside instead.    Country music was far more interesting when women were dominating it because each woman had their own different style and unique contributions to offer.

Carrie Underwood is but one of many worthy female talents out there today.   She and Lambert have both supported each other and vocalized the need for more acknowledgment of women in their field.     Their fans should follow their example instead of bickering with each other.     There’s a larger battle worth fighting.

Be Sociable, Share!

103 Comments

Category: Discussion, Open Thread
Tags: ,

103 Comments so far

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

  1. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    Great article! Your last paragraph says it all. Why do we need to cut down one female artist in order to build up another?

  2. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    By the way, my question was pretty much rhetorical or a cry of desperate frustration.:)

  3. Chris D.No Gravatar says:

    Thank you so much for writing this! This is exactly how I feel when I see those comments about fans of one female artist against fans of another. I too am a big female artist supporter, but honestly I just find them to be more talented than most of the guys, and I like most, if not all of the current female acts today, all for different reasons. When people cut down other female artists, nobody wins.

    Last year, I took a morality and social justice course, and we did a unit on sexism, and it was very eye-opening to me about our culture, such as the inherent sexism in most ads today. After that, I really noticed it in country music, how so few of the female acts really are successful, so I just support them even more. Of course, my friends make fun of me for having mostly female artists on my ipod, but I honestly don’t care.

    I’m proud to say I’m a fan of Carrie, Miranda, Trisha, LeAnn, and Lee Ann (and many more) and I’m proud of it.Best article I’ve read in a while, nice job!

  4. Paul W DennisNo Gravatar says:

    I agree that there is (or should be)room for all and without trying to build up one artist by tearing down another. Let’s leave the mud slinging to the political realm.

    Unlike Kevin, most of my favorites are still the male artists. I don’t think there is a female artist out there with the overall talent of a Brad Paisley or Keith Urban and there is a lot of pretty uninteresting material being recorded.

    Also there are a lot of interchangeable female singers out there as well. I don’t think the female voices of today are as distinctive as the group from the 1960s. Yes, there are some great singers Trisha Yearwood, Rhonda Vincent foremost among them and Carrie Underwood (and likely Cia Cherryholme) getting there. There is also a strong cadre of veteran singers like Susy Bogguss, Kathy Mattea and Pam Tillis still performing.

    Unfortunately, a lot of the male AND female singers are only as good as their last single. Remember Shannon Brown, Susan Haynes, Danielle Peck ? Some good songs, maybe even good albums but otherwise largely generic voices

  5. WendyNo Gravatar says:

    Thank you so much for writing this. You make so many fantastic points. Carrie Underwood IS the real deal and she should be allowed to enjoy her successes without all the drama that the media invents between her and other female country artists. Carrie has introduced Country music to so many people who would never have given it a second listen. Her pride in her genre of music and her steadfast loyalty to it are rare examples of an artist who is not willing to compromise to succeed. I have seen Carrie perform live and her voice is beyond amazing. Furthermore, she cares very much about reaching out to her fans and making her performances as personal as possible. I look forward to the day when Carrie Underwood will be nominated for Entertainer of the Year – and WIN!

  6. [...] just wrote a great piece… i think Kevin at country universe is expressing what many of us feel! Discussion: Carrie Underwood, Shania Twain and Gender in Country Music Country Universe [...]

  7. lookingforFTNsNo Gravatar says:

    Kevin, you are right about Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban… I saw Carrie with the both of them, and I remember very clearly Keith not having any fiddle or steel in his band…

  8. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar says:

    Terrific post, and I couldn’t agree more with the underlying sentiment. No one should have to deal with some of the crap that’s been lobbed in Carrie Underwood’s direction.

    I’ll admit that I have been a vocal detractor of hers recently, but only because I don’t think most of her material lives up to her talent. I say the same thing about Kenny Chesney all the time (and he’s probably not as talented, which is why it’s a little less frustrating to me that he records mediocre songs).

    And I don’t have a general problem with country-pop, but I do wish Carrie would record some more traditional material, simply because I think that’s where her talent really lies. I love Keith Urban as an artist because I think his brand of pop (it’s hard to even include “country” in that anymore) suits him and his voice perfectly; with Carrie, I just hear a strong country voice waiting for an equally strong country song. Do I think Carrie deserves to top the charts? Yes. Do I think “Last Name” deserves to be the song that does it for her? No, and I worry that encouraging her success with such songs will only hold her back (artistically and commercially) in the long run.

  9. Matt BNo Gravatar says:

    After seeing a Shania fan at work at The9513, I am glad you’ve taken to talking about this. I think it’s an important discussion. I have never understood how people can get so vehemently defensive or protective over THEIR star. It’s like they take it personally that a singer is successful. Perhaps being so close to the business of it all and knowing, for my whole life that I’d be somehow involved in the industry, I never got that loyal about an artist. Now a sports team…I’m there but still, I don’t get ‘oh they’re so much better than so and so…My eyes just gloss over.

  10. John MagliteNo Gravatar says:

    I agree with the substance of what you’re saying, but disagree with some of the particular points simply because I don’t find some of the acts being discussed – Carrie and Shania, chiefly – to be especially compelling.

    I don’t know if it’s that all the hot young female artists are just naturally boring or that Nashville has whittled away every semblance of personality by the time they get to us, but few of the new ones do much for me at all. I think part of the problem (for grumpy old traditionalist me) is that the two versions of country female being promoted at radio – country-pop princess ala Underwood or rockin’ hellion ala Lambert (and Wilson before her) – are on opposing edges of the country genre. Who’s being promoted that falls squarely in the middle? On the male side, there are guys like Josh Turner, Joe Nichols, and Brad Paisley with pretty secure straight-up country credentials. Where’s the female equivalent? Patty Loveless isn’t getting played. I remain unconvinced by Ashton Shepherd. Elizabeth Cook is way out on the fringes. I’m keeping fingers crossed for Joey + Rory.

    If a straight-down-the-middle country female artist comes along, I’ll throw my support behind her. I’d like to see more gender balance at radio, sure, but I won’t pretend to care about any singer because she happens to be female. It’s up to her to make me care. And for one reason or another, it’s mostly not happening for me. Though, in fairness, I should point out that it’s mostly not happening for me on the male side either. I guess I’m just crotchety.

  11. John MagliteNo Gravatar says:

    Uh, I meant to conclude by complimenting you on an interesting and thought-provoking post. I guess you got me too fired up and I forgot to include that part… ;)

  12. John,
    There were some traditional female country artists on the radio a couple of years back – Terri Clark and Gretchen Wilson. They lost their slots to Carrie Underwood and Sugarland.

    There need to be more slots for female artists. There just can’t be diversity of any kind when only three or four women are being played in the first place.

  13. John MagliteNo Gravatar says:

    That’s a good point. If more slots were opened to women, I’m sure we would see more diversity and more female acts catering to my particular tastes. Hope it happens before the few existing female acts convince me to tune out entirely.

  14. I think the best female acts out there are still the ones who peaked commercially in earlier periods, but I’ve been generally impressed with Lambert, Underwood and Nettles. I think Lambert’s making the best music. Underwood’s vocals are often bone-chilling, though as I’ve written numerous times, I’d like to see her with more stripped down production. The new Sugarland album has convinced me that Nettles is one of our best talents.

    The only other woman who’s getting serious airplay is Taylor Swift, who doesn’t appeal to me much, but I’m not her target age group in the first place. But there are tons of female country acts not getting airplay that are making great music (and quite a few men as well, though there’s a lot more diversity on the radio because men get most of the airplay in the first place.)

  15. Matt BNo Gravatar says:

    I’m waiting for Stormy to come here and comment on this whole topic since it’s near and dear to her heart. I do agree that there need to be more slots for female artists. I’ve always preferred male vocalists but some of my favorite aritsts are females (Mary Chapin, Trisha, Wynonna). I guess, though, that female listeners have a lot of ‘blame’ for slots too because they LOVE the male singers for the very same reason many men love female singers: how they look/sound to them. Also, we must not forget these same fans like to be serenaded, which would be hard for a female singer to do in a genre with demographics skewing female.

  16. That’s actually the age-old excuse that’s been used to keep women off the radio. “Country fans are females and they want to hear men sing to them.”

    Funny thing happened once women were allowed to sing to them. They sold a bucketload more records than the men.

    It just doesn’t make any sense. Are the women who are on country radio there because the minority of male listeners “like to be serenaded” by them? The argument here is condescending to women – silly little girls swooning over those males with microphones! They’re the ones to blame for male station managers not adding female singers!

    Why did women buy so many more records by Shania Twain, Dixie Chicks, Carrie Underwood and Faith Hill than they ever did of most of the men in country music? Why did Gretchen Wilson, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Wynonna and Deana Carter have albums that sold five million copies? Was it the men lusting after them, or did they just make excellent music that had a chance to be heard?

  17. StephenNo Gravatar says:

    Thank you for finally saying what many have been to afraid to say. It’s good to see some people finally thinking clearly as opposed to thinking with a bias looking over their thoughts. Before I begin, let me say that I am a huge fan of Carrie Underwood and have followed her since her days on American Idol. Let me also say that I was someone who believed that she should have sang pop/rock as opposed to country. One more thing before I begin: I regret ever thinking that now.

    Whether people would like to admit it or not, Carrie Underwood is the current ambassador for country music (Taylor Swift is following along behind her) and she is responsible for bringing in a whole new crowd into the country music scene. I am one of the people who came along just to hear her “bone-chilling vocals” (I agree that with less production, she could prove to be one of the top 3 vocalists of this generation – as opposed to being maybe number 6 or 7), but I have come to stay.

    When I started listening to country radio solely to hear Underwood, I came across talents such as Faith Hill (a recurrent spin of “Like We Never Loved At All”), Miranda Lambert (“New Strings” was the first song I heard from her, but more recently “Gunpowder and Lead”), and even Reba McEntire (recurrent spin of “Facncy”). Hearing these great songs I immediately joined fan sites and noticed one thing: blatant disrespect for artists that the site wasn’t dedicated too.

    Before I turn this post into a novel, I have to say that it’s good to see someone pointing out that there needs to be some sort of unity amongst the fans of female country singers, because we have some of the biggest talents out right now (Underwood’s vocals, Lambert’s edginess, Swift’s songwriting – the lyrics are very “teen,” but it’s obvious that she will develop into an awesome lyricist). Why let all our girls go to waste?

    (On a COMPLETE SIDE NOTE: Who else would love to hear Carrie Underwood’s “I Know You Won’t” stripped down, nearly acapella? I say she should make it a single. Any takers?)

  18. Responding to the side note with an emphatic yes. “I Know You Won’t” is far and away my favorite track on Carrie’s second album. I tend to like her side tracks more than her studio album tracks, but that one’s a killer.

  19. AaronNo Gravatar says:

    It’s about time someone has said something about this whole thing! First of all, I’m sick and tired of going to message boards and reading nothing but arguments over why one female artist is better than another (i.e Carrie vs. Faith, Carrie vs. Taylor, Carrie vs. Jessica). I mean they are all trying to get airplay on radio stations that are being dominated by male artists…so why say one deserves success over the other??

    We should work on trying to get more female artists airplay. Right now, it seems like the only two female artists that are consistently in the top 5 are Carrie and Taylor. They are so important to the genre of country music because, like everyone says, they bring more fans to country. I have listened to country my entire life but I have heard people say the only reason they became fans of country is because of artists like Carrie and Taylor. Hopefully these two can pave a path for more artists like Miranda, Jessica, Julianne, and others.

    I loved this article because it said what everyone was thinking but never actually said outloud! Thanks for writing it!

  20. AaronNo Gravatar says:

    Sorry but I forgot to comment on the whole Carrie song “I Know You Won’t.” I love that song and would love to hear a more stripped down performance of it, but my favorite song on her second album is “I Told You So.” She knocks that out of the park!!!

  21. OvernighterNo Gravatar says:

    For Kevin, Stephen & Aaron…Carrie does a stripped down version of IKYW at her concerts, lately…Accompanied by only a piano…Most Powerful!! Carrie shines vocally on this song…It’s out there on the Tube…Find it guys, & ENJOY!!

  22. gabyNo Gravatar says:

    carrie actually had quite a bit to say about this topic in her recent Allure article that got completely overshadowed by the whole romo call mess

    “I know [the record companies] figure out their target audience is thirtysomething females. So they get these guy singers in there, thinking that will appeal to them. But there’s nobody left for these thirtysomething women to relate to! The guys-they’re just there to be eye candy!”

    another good quote
    “They think, she’s doing great-for a woman. They don’t come out and say it blatantly. But they think it.”

  23. TomNo Gravatar says:

    i just don’t understand why nobody mentions bucky covington in this context. blonde, ex-talentshow contestant, mildly country….. being overlooked can be as tough as being bashed.

  24. lcbNo Gravatar says:

    Kevin,

    A wonderful, thoughtful post. Thanks for pointing out how some (not all) fans of female country singers turn on each other when they sense someone is rising above the pack, when actually they should all celebrate the successes of Carrie, Taylor, etc. Did Dolly and Reba’s rise to fame hurt Crystal, Patty, Faith, Shania, Martina, and others, or open doors for them? I also agree that Carrie’s vocals are indeed “bone-chilling” at times (love that description) and put her at another level when you honestly analyze the raw talent of our current country singers, male or female. A mostly-acoustic release of that song would be brave, but wouldn’t it be fun to see how many stations would play it, and how often?

  25. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    I admittedly predominantly started out as a fan of male singers. Like Paul and John, I’m still drawn to their voices first for some reason. However, as I’ve explored female singers more and more, I’ve really come to appreciate them and have added many more female artists to my collection. At this point, Miranda Lambert is probably my favorite current artist. I just really like what she’s doing–the ballads, the rockers, the anger, the sensitivity, the understated, the loud—it all just works for me. And I don’t hear any of the men providing such variety in their music right now. Through this site’s dedication to female artists, I’ve been able to discover the wonder of Emylou Harris who is also, now, among my very favorite artists of all, not to mention a great number of other female artists. So, what I’m trying to say, but probably not saying very clearly, is that I don’t just like female artists just because they’re women, as was slightly suggested above. They’ve gotta earn it, just like the men.

    So, I think Kevin is ultimately right. The problem isn’t that the female artists aren’t making interesting music. It isn’t that they all sound the same either. It’s that there aren’t enough spots for them. The males have a chance to show versatility, because radio allows so many of them that the sense of variety can’t help but be achieved by them.

    Gaby pulled some great quotes from Carrie, which proves that she understands what’s going on. She isn’t being naive about where women seem to stand with radio programmers and industry folks.

    Finally, to end this random post for now, female artists do not sound the same to me. There are vast differences between the voices and music of Ashton Shepherd, Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Nettles, Taylor Swift, etc. There actually aren’t many similarities between those women at all. In fact, I would argue that there’s a lot of sameness among the men right now, in all actuality, even though there are more of them. I wonder if we statistically broke it down (since there are more male singers than women), if we’d find that the female singers actually provide more variety or uniqueness than the men. I suspect that it just seems that the men are more unique, because there are more of them.

  26. MarcNo Gravatar says:

    Bravo. Excellent read.

    I too far prefer female to male country, with female artists I regularly listen to outnumbering their male counterparts at least 10:1. Carrie, Miranda, even little Taylor.. all bringing more and more people to the genre, more fans, more money.

    If you don’t like one or more of them.. don’t buy their albums, don’t attend their shows. No biggie, support whoever it is you like.

  27. Steve F.No Gravatar says:

    Questioning Carrie’s meteoric level of recognition, especially in comparison to other female artists who have worked harder and for a longer period of time, is not a disservice to female Country artists. Some of us feel that Carrie’s complete dominance of the charts and awards is as much a result of hype, as it is of her talent and artistic achievement.

    THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH GENDER BIAS OR POLITICS!!!

    Is Carrie THAT much better than all the other female artists? Really?! Are we who question, anti-female?! These are ridiculous assertions. We Carrie detractors do not do so because we don’t like females gaining such widespead influence, chart success and awards. We just believe that other female artists are more worthy of these honors. Many of us DO acknowledge her talent and amazing voice. But to assert that Carrie has no room to grow artistically, as some Carrie fans do, is nonsense.

    Many of us have supported our assertions with reasoned, and thoughtful observation, and for the moderators to dismiss our resistance to Carriemania, (or the pop diluting trends in todays country), or to reduce our objections to anti-female gender politics is extremely simplistic, and offensive. It is a lazy assertion.

    Many of us do not like the trend in general of pure Country being diluted by Pop. I for one have also criticized Rascall Flatts and Keith Urban for the same reasons. Carrie is only part of the problem in this regard. This has nothing to do with gender politics, and to suggest that is what motiviates us is unfair and insulting. We who question these trends are not knee-jerk or anti-woman. And to imply such is unfair and insulting. Many of us are fairminded and thoughtful people. I also criticize Kenny Chesney, and like the whole Carriemania thing, do not understand Kennymania either.

    To suggest that bringing in legions of new fans in and of itself is vindication for a Country artists suceess, and an indication artistic achievement, is also a questionable assertion. Sure, the industry could go the way rap for instance, toss out the fiddles and steel, and replace the mellow sounds of the upright bass with thumping bass tones and belligerent chants. One could put Cowboy hats on such artists and call it “country” . That would ALSO bring in legions of new fans. But at what point, and how then would we reclaim the soul and identity of COUNTRY music?!

    Demographic and market studies show that young teenagers spend more on music purchases than any other group. Y’all think this has been good for Country music? I do believe these youngsters make up a considerable chunk of support for Carrie, Sugarland, Keith, Kenny, and Rascall Flatts. (I saw it first hand at a RF concert once, I was there to see Katrina Elam, not RF and could not beleive all the very teenagers in attendance) And naturally, more traditional artists struggle in this climate.

    Text messaging twelve year olds have turned Country music and its institutions into one giant pajama party.

    They have given us Jessica Simpson at # 3 on the CMT video countdown chart, and Sugarland’s (who’s name itself implies ear candy) “oo oo all I want to do” 5 weeks and counting at #1. Y’all happy about this?! Call it what you will, but it ain’t what I call Country. Is no one else even a little embarassed that this is the face of Country music today?!

    -Steve from Boston

  28. LanibugNo Gravatar says:

    I for one am not a fan of Carrie Underwood, and never have been from day one — but I do understand what she is trying to do for the music — but I believe it is my right to not like her just because I dont and no one is going to change my opinion.

    I am a fan of people like Miranda Lambert, Ashton Shepard, Ashley Monroe, and the likes, who in general are more traditional – but I do give others credit for what they are trying to bring to country music, in the way of new fans, etc.

  29. Steve F.No Gravatar says:

    Kevin, why do you think it was that Patty Loveless’s last album, Dreamin’ My Dreams, or the single from that album, KEEP YOUR DISTANCE, went nowhere on the charts? DO you think it was due to any lack of talent by the artist, or because of any defect in her performance or inferiority of production? Any lack of quality in the songwriting department?

    Many, many knowlegable critics cited this ablum as one of the best of 05, by far. Yet it was barley heard on Country radio, or seen on Country TV. Are you OK with this? Do you think it has ANYTHING to do with the public’s appetite for musical junk food? And their distain for the soul-nourishing music that Patty and other Neo-traditionalists offer? Is all the fault of male Country singers and the support they receive?

    I’d just like to add, that I tried to make my criticisms of Carrie about Carriemanina as opposed to rational devotion to Carrie and her music. I always tried in my arguments to acknowledge her talent, tried to avoid casting any aspersions on her as a person. In spite of this, I was addressed by name, and called a “hater” by one Carrie fan here, and the moderators did nothing. This is the other side of the coin. For everyone who UNFAIRLY bashes Carrie, there is a Carrie fan who will smear ANYONE who will not acknowlege Carrie’s supremacy, no matter how fair or reasoned their criticisms many be. But no one says anything about that.

    One point I will grant you, it that the men do have an easier time succeeding as Traditonalists, Brad Paisley and Alan Jackson to name a few. Women seem to have to go the Pop route to gain any headway, and that is a shame.

    But on the other hand, Dwight Yoakam also had trouble with the charts back in 05. Too Country for country radio and TV I guess.

    -Steve from Boston

  30. ZachNo Gravatar says:

    ummm Steve from Boston-
    I am a teenager and I don’t like Jessica Simpson and am not crazy over Taylor Swift- I LOVE the 90′s country stuff and the 80′s too! and I will say that Carrie and Sugarland are my favs and they are doing great.
    Unfortunatly, most of my High school (girls) are CRAZY about Taylor Swift. But most like Carrie Underwood, so I think Carrie is doing the right thing, she’s bringing in all the people who normally don’t like country. Hopefully one day some of the older artists will be back on top, so we must wait and see.
    So not ALL teenagers like just Kenny, Flatts, Swift, and Underwood.
    Just Wondering- did you feel this way when Shania Twain became popular? (Twain is also in my Top 10 favorite artists)

  31. ZachNo Gravatar says:

    also I’d like to say that my Top 10 favorite country/music artists both are all female- with the exception of Sugarland

  32. ZachNo Gravatar says:

    Personally, I think if Carrie goes a more traditional route, she will still have the same success

  33. Blake BoldtNo Gravatar says:

    I’m a little late to the party, but…

    In my opinion, there is an issue at hand that is almost as important as sexism. I believe we have an unhealthy dose of ageism in country music, specifically with female artists. Case in point, the following are the ages that these highly-regarded females had their last Top Tens:

    Martina McBride, 39
    Lee Ann Womack, 38
    Patty Loveless, 39
    Trisha Yearwood, 37
    Kathy Mattea, 37

    Although time will have to tell, these women struggled with radio success after a certain point. These women (minus Loveless and Mattea) still have a shot at this success, but it looks to be a struggle from here on out. On the other hand, you have artists such as George Strait, Alan Jackson and Brooks & Dunn who have almost seamlessly entered their 50s with continued recognition on the charts, and Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban, both past the age of 40, do not appear to be slowing down.

    This problems are not relegated to country music, but it is unfortunate that you are deemed unworthy (at least, commercially) after a certain point.

  34. Steve F.No Gravatar says:

    Hey Zach, you make some good points. There are exceptions, like yourself, many rational Carrie fans..Yeah, I kinda feel the same way about Shania. Mixed feelings though, as I like her music better. Shania is a better songwriter, but I dont really consider her Country. And her overwhelming success made it difficult for Traditionalists in the late nineties to gain any headway. The public really does have a preference for the “next big thing”. Like Carrie, Shania is extremely talented. But what is she, like an 18x platinimum selling artist? Is Shania nine times better than a double-platinimum artist? You cant tell me there aren’t other factors here than artistic merit to account for this. Same with Carrie, same with Kenny, and Keith, Sugarlnd and RF.

    And I will say this for Taylor, I’m not a fan, but at least she writes most of her stuff, and from experience and a teenagers perspective. There is usually a refreshing sincerity in her stuff, which I find absent many of Carrie’s hits.

    -Steve

    -Steve

  35. William says:

    Outside of “Before He Cheats” and a very enjoyable Guns N’ Roses cover you can find on YouTube, Carrie Underwood is not for me. Interesting thing about that is, even with that fact, Kevin isn’t accusing me of anything. At some level I even think that she rose to stardom faster than she might have if not for American Idol. Though I believe she has grown into it, and that now her popularity is completely (and obviously) on merit. Still, Kevin isn’t, and hasn’t, accused me of anything.

    Music is about taste and there is nothing wrong with saying an artist isn’t for me, or that I even disagree with someone specific. Personally my tastes disagree with Paul W. Dennis and I think that there are quite a few “female artist out there with the overall talent of a Brad Paisley or Keith Urban.”

    Kevin’s article isn’t about that at all.

    It appears to me that it is not a matter of if you think a female artist is enjoyable, or even if you think they are talented, it is a question of why they are not equal in status to their male counterparts. You’ve asked “Is Carrie THAT much better than all the other female artists?” and I can only ask if you have considered why you compared her only to other female artist? Even if you believe, honestly and without any bias that there are not any female artists out there right now as talented as the male artists, shouldn’t you at least have to ask the question?

    You are certainly not guilty of Gender Bias for not enjoying Carrie Underwood, but instead of just comparing Carrie or any other female artist to each other, shouldn’t you be able to ask “Is Carrie THAT much better than all the other artists?”

    This seems to me to be the core of the issue around those fans “who divide themselves into camps, cutting down one female artist to praise another.” The female artist in this case is a minority, often pitted against each other (by publicist, record companies, and sometimes fans) to gain a small share of the majority of country music fans. New Female Talent vs. Aging Female Star. Traditional Female Artist vs. Pop Crossover Success.

    To some degree this might be sometimes simply be sexist, but I believe that in the majority of instances this is NOT THE CASE. As Kevin pointed out already, this is something that has been “internalized by the fans of female artists” and I believe that he is 100% correct, and that he does everyone a service by pointing it out. If we are not aware of what is happening, than it is certainly difficult to address the problem.

    Carrie Underwood is not for me! That is something I am completely comfortable saying that, and confident in the fact that it acceptable at Country Universe. What may be less acceptable (at least for me), and I encourage any fans to consider this, is attacking a female artist in order to elevate my favorite. This only serves to harm my favorite artist, continuing the pattern of belief that Female Artist must first compete with each other before they can compete in country music as a whole.

    *The use of the word “You” is directed at Country Music Fans as a whole, not at any single (or multiple) people.

  36. Steve F.No Gravatar says:

    Good points on the ageism Blake. Yeah, I gotta admit, here again it seems to be a double standard, with music lover’s acceptance for older men, and reluctance to embrace the music of older women.

    But I also stand by my assertions about the public’s appetite for Pop- ear candy as an explanation for the difficulties Traditionalists are experiencing.

    -Steve

  37. Steve F.No Gravatar says:

    Fair enough William, I will try to include more gender neutral terminology..Cant argue with that. I do have a preference for female artists, and for that reason am more sensitive to the percieved slights towards my favorites, and more passionate in their defense.

    I am trying to begin to include Keith Kenny and RF in my litst of pop peddling “culprits” as well as Carrie, and Jennifer N.

    Point well made, point well taken.

    -Steve

  38. Steve F.No Gravatar says:

    But as far as pitting the ladies against each other, the INDUSTRY leads the way for that . They put woman against woman for FEMALE vocalist of the year etc, so isn’t it understandable at least if we tend to do the same in our rhetoric? May not be the perfect way to express our points, but isn’t it natural?

    -Steve

  39. Steve F.No Gravatar says:

    Has anyone heard Patty Loveless’ version of Crazy Arms yet? (It’s posted on her MySpace) I’ll make an assertion of opinion here. I think that Patty’ rendition of this classic is FAR better than anything on the charts right now, buy ANY artist, male or female!

    -Steve from Boston.

  40. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    Steve,

    I’m sorry that you’ve been feeling personally attacked here.

    A couple of points:

    I like Carrie Underwood much better than William does, but I’m not a super fan, as I’ve said many times here. Kevin still lets me write for CU, though I’m certain that he doesn’t feel that I’m anti-female because I don’t love Carrie Underwood. So, I don’t feel that we as moderators were accusing anyone of being anti female or suggesting that one is required to be a Carrie fan. Kevin’s article was much deeper than that.

    As far as moderating comments goes, it’s a difficult balance. We try not to sensor too much. While there are certainly times when we have to step in, we need to let people work out their arguments as much as possible without censorship. Of course, if the attacks are vulgar and nonsensical rants that have nothing to do with the topic, we are compelled to step in. We can’t censor for passion, even if we don’t agree with how it’s executed.

  41. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    Sometimes, it’s good to fight against what’s considered to be natural–that’s how we progress as human beings.

  42. William says:

    It is definately something we are bombarded with, and that can easily be “internalized by the fans of female artists.” If you only hear female artist compaired to female artist, I think it is natural (especially if you are not watching for it) to start thinking in those terms.

    Hopefully when people do become aware of it, they can be watchful of their own rhetoric to avoid accidentially adding to the problem. After all, in the same way we listen to the industry we listen to each other, and people can be influenced by our words as well.

    As for Female Vocalist of the Year, we also have Male Vocalist of the Year and then of course Entertainer of the Year. I personally don’t have any issues with them having Male and Female vocalist Awards–as for the problems I think exists with Entertainer of the Year…I would leave that for another time.

  43. StephenNo Gravatar says:

    Being a massive Carrie fan, I can honestly say that I feel she is far more talented (vocally, mind you) than any other country singer in the game at this point. That being said, I do think that some people connect to their songs better than Carrie does (aside from “I Know You Won’t” at the Opry – that was miraculous) and some people are even performers than she is.

    Lee Ann Womack, for example, connected with the song “Last Call” in a way that I haven’t seen in a long time. She felt the song, she lived the song, she was the song. In this sense, she is better at investing in her songs than Carrie Underwood.

    Likewise, Jennifer Nettles from Sugarland is a better performer than Underwood because of her gimicky, crazy performances that, if nothing else, are entertaining.

    These are just a few of the reasons why I feel that all female artists should be given chances at radio. However, I won’t lie, if asked whether I would be willing to sacrifice a Carrie Underwood song for a Womack or Yearwood song, I would, without hesitation say no.

    I like these women, but, to me, Carrie is the most talented, even though she has much to improve on (I firmly believe she gets better day-by-day).

    Now if you asked me to sacrifice a RF, KU, or KC song, I would gladly say “of course.”

  44. jakeNo Gravatar says:

    This whole post was started to cause a fight.
    To even put a huge icon like Shania who is global in the same sentence as Underwood is laughable.

    First there is nothing to compare. Shania was shunned by the industry, Underwood was not. Shania had to work her way and break boundaries and Underwood was handed her success straight from AI and then Nashville support.
    Shania created her music outside of Nashville with no Nashville help. Underwood is completely created by Nashville and they do everything for her.

    So it is nothing like when Shania came on the scene and had to fight for a little bit of aiplay and had to change the sound of country music and had to change the style of how people dress in country music.

    Kevin’s argument is too simpley saying jsut because some woman sells then people bash them.
    Totally different that what Shania did and how Shania was not only bashed by many country fans but the industry barely gave her any awards and they trashed her.
    Kevin talks about knowing history of country music, then I guess this post was to serve his own purpose because he leaves out the big points of why Shania stands alone as the biggest impact female globally of alltime.

    I don’t even know why we are even talking about Underwood now anyway, Taylor Swift is more popular now. and they all are trying to copy Shania.

  45. jakeNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t know what weed Kevin is smoking but Taylor Swift is more popular now and a bigger star now out there today and both of them combined can’t even come close to Shania’s star power which is global.
    You are full of it Kevin, the only ambassador worldwide for country music is Shania and Dolly, those are the only 2 well known worldwide.
    You are such an Underwood fan that you can’t even admit that Nashville does everything for her and writes all her songs and produces all her music. She is completely tied to Nashville.
    I have no idea why you would be so deceptive and lie in your posts but your motive is obvious just like starting a fight and trying to compare Shania with anyone.

  46. jake,

    There’s an excellent dialogue going on here that you’re welcome to be a part of, but you have to be respectful to do so. Any further comments that are insulting in tone will be deleted.

  47. Steve F.No Gravatar says:

    Finally an acknowledgement that Carrie isn’t perfect and has room to grow. There have been others, But I think Stephen’s post #43 here is a perfect example of someone who loves Carrie but is NOT under the spell of Carrriemania.

    Leeann, thanks for the explanation of the non- intervention policy.

    If we want to celebrate the victories of our favorites in categories that pit woman against woman, isnt it fair game to compare the the ladies, (as well as the men) against each other as well? The industry has set the framework and parameters for our discussions. And if our favorites have been overlooked, or robbed, isn’t it fair game to state our opinion that this was so? Otherwise, if this is not fair game, why play this award show game at all!?

    Sugarland is # 1 for the sixth week in a row, they gave us a few good songs, and now are offering us junk food, and we are buying it. oo oo oo oo oo oo, oo oo oo oo oo oo all I wanna do…Jennifer herself called it an “earworm” something you just cannot get out of your head…if so, that should be a prosecutable offense for invasion of mental sanity. Thanks a lot Jennifer, but lest anyone think I’m biased against women, Thank Kristian as well…(he said he got that tune from his child)

    -Steve

  48. The Carrie Underwood fans who post here have been largely respectful in expressing their enthusiasm for their favorite artist, despite the fact that they’re usually playing defense. I have no idea if that’s the case on other sites, but it’s been the case here.

  49. Steve F.No Gravatar says:

    Kevin, I was addressed by name, and called a “hater” here on this site by a Carrie fan. That is a personal, disrespectful attack.

    I guess I have a different perception here, or have not been here long enough. But we Carrie detractors, respectful or otherwise, really seem to be in the minority here.

    But yes, most have been respectful, even if I consider some of their arguments irrational, most have been respectful. But I guess music is more about emotion than reason..

    And I would still be interested in your take on the points I addressed to you in post 29.

    -Steve from Boston

  50. I think Leeann already explained the moderator issue effectively, but if you have any other questions about that, please ask.

    Regarding the Loveless album, it was the last in her contract w/Sony and they really didn’t promote the record at all. It was depressing to watch. I think that project was also impacted by the Sony recall of CD’s that were crashing computers or something along those lines, but I’m not certain about that.

  51. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    I guess I never really thought much of the ” you’re just a hater” line on these threads, because I never take it very seriously as a defense, because it’s weak.

    Dont worry Steve,both Kevin and I have been called a hater many times on this site for our reviews of certain songs. I’ve even been called godless and other equally inflamatorynames and not by Carrie Underwood fans. Of course, there are always those radical fans of any artist…

    As for Jake, don’t think we’re not smart enough to know that you’re posting as Paul over at The9513. So, you already know how I feel about your rhetoric. Please make an argument so that I can try to take you seriously for once.

  52. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    I think Sony’s program had something to do with Jon Randall’s disappointment as well right around that time. They had a program on their CDs that wouldn’t allow you to rip the songs from it unless you downloaded their special program that only allowed two or three times. The program also crashed computers and I remember the Randall CD being recalled. I must have a later version of the Loveless CD, because it doesn’t have that problem.

  53. bobby says:

    Great article, and great points!
    What bothers me most, is that artists who have already established themselves and are making good music, are not having radio success anymore because their slots have been given to the new “big thing”. For instance, Trisha Yearwood and Taylor Swift are on the same label, but they focus way more on marketing Taylor Swift.
    I agree with the points about making room for more females, because as with the males they all have something unique to offer, which is a reason why they shouldn’t be compared with other female artists. Carrie Underwood shouldn’t be compared against Shania Twain or Faith Hill or anyone else, because they all have somthing different to offer.

  54. Paul W DenisNo Gravatar says:

    I guess no consensus ever will be reached here. I think that ultimately, the problem is that of marketing and consolidation within the radio industry resulting in narrowing playlists and corporately dictated programming.

    A comment was made about male artists entering their 50s still having chart success – that seems to be a recent phenomena. Even in the era of classic country (roughly 1950-1975) the big hits normally quit before age 50,and usually before 40. Eddy Arnold’s last #1 occurred in 1968 when he was 50, Webb Pierce was 36 when his last #1 was recorded, and those were the two biggest stars in the history of the genre.

    Similarly Ernest Tubb’s last #1 occurred when he was 36, Buck Owens, Ray Price, Sonny James, Hank Jr Loretta Lynn, Kitty Wells and Jack Greene saw their last solo number ones while in their 40s

  55. mimiNo Gravatar says:

    Jake & Paul = Potter

  56. J.R. JourneyNo Gravatar says:

    Like Blake, I am late to this party too. And I think this article and the thought process behind it is long overdue. Not so much for this site, but for a lot of fan sites and message boards. Anyone ever read some of the posts on the CMT board? Those people are out for blood …

    The fact that these females aren’t having continued success at radio is in some ways the fault of the artist. Let me explain my thinking behind this: So many artists – especially veterans – just keep following the same formula in their albums and radio singles. There’s a fine line between maintaining artistic integrity and commercial relevance. I have seen very few artists that can pull this off. The two best examples of this in recent memory are Trisha Yearwood and Reba McEntire.

    While Yearwood has been making the best music of her career these last few years, she has struggled to succeed at radio. Her last top 10 came in 2001 with ‘I Would’ve Loved You Anyway’ and her last #1 all the way back in 1997. Yearwood hasn’t compromised an ounce of her integrity (hubby should take a page out her book here), but radio has largely ignored her music. Sexism and ageism could be blamed here, but I think it’s more her refusal to conform.

    Reba, on the other hand, has had continued success at radio – be it spotty at times. Since 1997, Reba has had 3 #1′s, the last coming in 2004 with ‘Somebody’, a largely generic song that we’ve heard before and with better lyrics. But it fit the bill for radio’s ear candy. Reba has also enjoyed 4 top 10s during this period. And the fact that she went 3 years between albums and made the move to Hollywood and had a successful TV show didn’t really hurt her country success either. That’s really quite the accomplishment in my opinion.

    But the difference I see between these two is that Reba has consistently changed styles to accommodate radio. Even going so far as to compromise her roots and artistic integrity for continued airplay. Not that all her music has been sub-par in recent years, just her radio singles mostly.

    So what’s an artist to do? Do you bend and shoot for spins or do you keep making the music that is really close to your heart and just hope that radio will play it? It’s my opinion that radio will in fact play artists over 50 if their music fits the format. Radio’s idea of the format that is.

    Oh, one more thing before I hit 1,000 words here (might be too late for that already)…
    Kevin wrote “Other than Garth Brooks, it has been the female artists who have shown the most ability to expand the fanbase of country music.”

    Never a truer word spoken. For the past 2 decades or so at least it has been the female stars that were really pushing the envelope and taking country to new places. Artists like Rosanne Cash, Dolly Parton, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Wynonna, Shania Twain, the Dixie Chicks, and Reba and Trisha even have been the pioneers that were out paving new roads for others to follow. Somebody said on a post in the past that Reba was the plow that tilled the field making it ready for artists like Shania and the Chicks to become superstars. I am inclined to agree.

  57. Blake BoldtNo Gravatar says:

    Bouncing back from what Paul said, I think he makes an excellent point. A number of legendary acts had significant output during their peak times, but often reached an age where they faded from the scene. His comments about marketing and promotions are also dead-on.

    Of course, in today’s society, we often view artists (and people in general) who are 40+ or 50+ in a different light than in the 1960s-1970s. That’s just due to quality of life and how we as a people have changed, which is a lot more philosophical than this discussion, I understand.

    But it still does help to explain why females feel the strain just a bit more in a male-dominated industry. Their “appeal” is seen to have dissipated long before the appeal of your average male artist.

  58. TomNo Gravatar says:

    country-blog chemistry:
    carrie + shania = explosive thread

  59. I think we’ve proven that wrong with this thread, Tom.

  60. kaylinaNo Gravatar says:

    thanks for the post i love carrie and i am one of those people that didn’t follow country, it wasn’t my thing but after following underwood since her american idol days she has made me love this genre! i didnt know how amazing talented women were in the country music biz whom i totally love now. carrie,martina,leann, shania are my all time favorites and i think shania has faced alot of people rdiculing her but it’s because she rocked the boat and wasnt scared to do it!! she is the reason that carrie has a chance to be here today. i think right now carrie is the biggest thing since shania and faith and like her or not she is here to stay and has a promising career just like these wonderful women. everything evolves and sure there are those that say carrie isnt country some like the traditional country but carrie is young and fresh and she is singing what appeals to people her age and younger she is a great role model young people should follow her. i think its great that carrie and miranda support each other and stick together rather then pull each other down maybe fans who love different artists should learn from these two. as far as jessica and carrie feud i heard jess on radio and she wasnt nice regarding the tony and carrie thing,…perhaps she should read this arrticle and learn how to support the women in country…

  61. vpNo Gravatar says:

    hey steve its me who stated that you are a hater. it was in no way a personal attack on you, i don’t know just as i don’t CUbut i was categorising you as an A-typical hater and gave my definition of that, which is a person who has a one track mind not open to anything else then their own thoughts, one what country should be, how people should get there and what they should or shouldn’t receive for their efforts. we are not the judge or jury we are the listeners and should just enjoy all the music.
    as for CU and how she has gotten to where she is, yeah she stared on a tv show, yes other people wrote her first album which she never denied not knowing how to write, everyone has different talents, which is fine, hers is her voice. BUT we don’t decide the ACMA and CMA do.
    they consist of other singers, musician, writer’s, producer’s and all the country music business people, and they are the one’s who have to decide between five different acts for who should win the awards, and they take everything into consideration, and guess what for two years these people have been picking CU so she must have something that patty, martina, miranda, taylor, etc, (who are all great) do not right now. they decided that her album was worthy of album of the year and no one can take that from her, the respect and appreciation from her peers. i think they know more about the music than us. they have very largely contributed to as you would call it carriemania, i call it giving someone credit where credit is due and earned no matter how she earned it.
    and jake i don’t think you can really compare taylor and carrie. cU did co-write four songs on her new album three of which have went to #1 so she is trying, she’s admitted it is new territory for her, she has said i am always a singer first. yes taylor has the great talent of writting, and that is what she should be apppreciated for.
    like kevin’s original discussion we should be talking about women in country and getting them more exposure instead of pitting them against eachother for drama, some how all these treads turn into CU fueds, that no one will ever win.
    let’s try to stick to the tread that is at hand.
    vp

  62. JarheadDadNo Gravatar says:

    Heh! Darest I lay privy to opine? Uh…. nope!

    Great post Kevin. I think we’ve all been going round and round about this for awhile without actually laying out the perimeters as you have done here. Well done!

    Everybody on the planet knows I’m a big fan of Carrie. One of the reasons I became so was to fight back against all the sniping. If someone just simply doesn’t like an artist I can live with that but I refuse to put up with outright lies about them. Or ignorance. The deeper I got into my support of Carrie the more I appreciated her. Also the more I defended other women in the genre. If you notice I use the term “defended” because that’s simply what I’ve had to do. I never could figure out why all the attacks and why all the tearing down to promote another. Still don’t but I made a conscious decision to defend one of my favs. Not by tearing down others but with facts and music of my favorite. And my charming ways! ;-)

    With the low number of slots for women on rotation it makes no sense to me for fans to be bashing female artists other than their favorites. The more we support the female artist in the genre the more we open up more room for more female artists. The more fans bash other artists the more they hurt the artist they support. Plain and simple.

    I may tend toward sarcasm but I generally defend the artists I like with facts and examples. I will debate with anyone with an open mind that’s not out there bombing strawmen like the “paying her dues” “hasn’t earned it” stuff. I would much rather work to try and win another fan for my fav than run them off. Except for Jake… Peter… Uh… Paul… No… he’s Sue. Right? Aw heck, I lose track! :-o

    And I even got Leeann to like Carrie a wee bit. May be a tiny bit but it’s a start! :-)

    And boy howdy do I 2nd the comment on Carrie’s performance of “I Know You Won’t” in concert. Whew! She literally evolved that song and changed the instrument arrangement to the point where it’s mostly just her vocals. The end result is absolutely stunning! Blows the album cut away!

    I Luv Womyn! Reba, Dolly, Shania, Martina, Miranda, Trisha, Carrie, Patty, Lee Ann, you name ‘em. I just like female country singers better. Always have – always will. And I don’t even feel the need to apologize for it neither! :-)

  63. Steve F.No Gravatar says:

    vp, I knew it was you, but I purposely did not bring your name into the discussion out of courtesy, the same courtesy I wish you had shown me before you singled me out by name to call me a hater. That is personal, you do not know me. For me being such a hater, I sure have said a lot of nice things about Carrie, including praising her for a fabulous rendition of HOW GREAT THOU ART on the Opry special. So if someone does not agree with you that Carrie deserves EVERY bit of acclaim she has recieved that means they are a “hater”?! But it’s nothing personal mind you.. Are you kidding me?! Yeah,I do have a strict definition of what I consider Country, but that does not make me a “hater” and I object to you calling me a “typical hater”, there is nothing typical about me at all, lol! But I have tried to be open, I have even said I am willing to be educated about Carrie, and some of her fans have pointed out to me where she is more Country than I previously have given her credit for. Also, I am encouraged that Kevin said she had more steel and fiddle in her band than Keith Urban..(pitting male against female Kevin? lol) seriously, I have noticed that too, On Keith’s DVD nary a fiddle or steel guitar to be found! And vp, just what is it that Carrie has that (I would leave Patty out of this, because she has not had an albuum for a few years ) Martina, and Miranda (you wanna add Faith, Leeann, Sara and Trisha to that list as well?) do not have that makes her so much more worthy than they? I’m all ears. Better songs? Better voice? Better stage presence? More collaborations? More duets? More songwriting credits?…Sales and youth appeal, maybe that’s it! All these folks who vote know from whence their bread is buttered! By the young-uns what buy the records, that’s who!

    Kevin, I am satisfied by Leeann’s explanation. I just brought it up again as a reminder, because you seemed to be painting a rosier picture than the reality of the courtesy of many Carrie fans. This was one blatant, contradictory example that challenged your assertion. But your statement as a whole is true, I guess my memories of the nastiness of various Carrie fans accross the web got mixed in with the Carrie fans here, who I admit have been by and large courteous. Thanks, but I have no further questions on this.

    Yes, I realize Carrie has detractors here as well, but I still feel we are in the minority because she has friends in high places here, on this site. And with the exception of a few loudmouths like myself, her supporters here seem far more vocal than her detractors. At least since I’ve started posting here.

    As far as your dissapointment that some of us have pitted woman against woman, and criticism for those of us who do so, you may feel differently if the shoe was on the other foot, and YOUR favorites were losing out unfairly..Losing out on awards, and airtime on radio and TV…So it is easy for you to call for an end to the comparisons, because your favorite is at the top of her game right now.

    Thanks for you input about the lack of chart sucess for Dreamin’ My Dreams…But I do believe it was more than a few technical difficulties. Remember, ON YOUR WAY HOME was a similarly great album, (Mountain Soul too) but also struggled to chart. So it has been a trend, with not only Patty, but other Traditional artists lately. Patty had Some publicity on GAC, promotions and contests I recall for DMD, but the public wasn’t buying. It is my assertion that the market has been compromised by the inflooding of young teenagers, who prefer lighter fare. And I see Carrie, Keith, Kenny, Rascall Flatts, Taylor Swift and Sugarland (and their management) as a big part of the problem for marketing to those kids, and watering down Country music.

    Many of us are really frustrated and angry at what’s happening to Country music today. We are embarrased that these so called ambassadors who bring in so many youngsters (which in and of itself is not a bad thing) are considered the face of country music today. As I have stated before, many of these kids know only of Carrie and Kenny, and they know not of Patty, Sara, and Dwight..And they do not WANT to know modern traditionalists, nor do they have any interest in their Classic predecessors.

    There are some exceptions however..at one of the fan clubs I belong to, there are two 14 year old guys who are considerably more knowledgable about the roots of Country, and behave far more maturely than many of the young twenty year olds on that site. This is a refreshing and hopeful sign.

    What is really baffling to me Kevin, is that you, and other Carrie and Country-Pop fans here, who also seem to appreciate artists like Patty, Dwight, Sara and Vince..seem far more outraged at any questioning of Carrie’s acclaim than you are about the market conditions (fed by wave of country-pop mania) that make it very difficult for these worthy Neo-Traditional artists to be heard. Why is that? Where’s the outrage? Would you folks who claim to really appreciate Patty, Dwight, Sara, Vince and others really prefer to hear the Pop-Country singers all the time, and very little of the Traditonalists? Because that is what has been happening. Sure, it shouldnt be an either/or situation, but that is how it has been playing out.

    Thanks for listening.

    -Steve from Boston

  64. Steve F.No Gravatar says:

    Oh, and Leeann, if you and Kevin have also been called “haters” or worse, I am in good company, lol!

    I appreciate all the writers and moderators here, but I’d like to thank you especially for your responsiveness, and your voice-of-reason involvement. Always appreciated.

    -Steve

  65. Steve,

    You raise a lot of strong points and interesting questions. I’m going to do my best to address each of them:

    Kevin, I am satisfied by Leeann’s explanation. I just brought it up again as a reminder, because you seemed to be painting a rosier picture than the reality of the courtesy of many Carrie fans. This was one blatant, contradictory example that challenged your assertion. But your statement as a whole is true, I guess my memories of the nastiness of various Carrie fans accross the web got mixed in with the Carrie fans here, who I admit have been by and large courteous. Thanks, but I have no further questions on this.

    I have so many students who use the word “hater” in a joking way, and I’ve taken to doing it myself, so I think I missed that one completely. I’m sorry that you felt that you were personally attacked and that we didn’t intervene on your behalf. We really do strive to be a place for civil and respectful discussion. So I apologize for missing that!

    Yes, I realize Carrie has detractors here as well, but I still feel we are in the minority because she has friends in high places here, on this site. And with the exception of a few loudmouths like myself, her supporters here seem far more vocal than her detractors. At least since I’ve started posting here.

    I think that perception stems from the fact that there are a lot of people who comment only on Carrie Underwood-related threads here. A couple of Underwood message boards usually link here when something’s been written about her. Some of them stick around and post on other threads, but most don’t. That’s a pretty common occurrence with other artist sites as well, including Patty Loveless, but I think that because Underwood’s fan base is so large and active online, we get more of a feedback on her posts. (I imagine if I was praising Taylor Swift, I’d be dealing with server overloads!)

    As far as your dissapointment that some of us have pitted woman against woman, and criticism for those of us who do so, you may feel differently if the shoe was on the other foot, and YOUR favorites were losing out unfairly..Losing out on awards, and airtime on radio and TV…So it is easy for you to call for an end to the comparisons, because your favorite is at the top of her game right now.

    This is a serious misreading of both this post and my assessment of Underwood as a whole. First, what I’m arguing against here is the gender-based comparisons. There are so few slots for women as it is, and I think that is what is creating the lack of diversity among female artists on the radio.

    Regarding my favorite artists, Underwood doesn’t crack the top forty. I think that if you take a look at the body of my work, that will be obvious pretty quickly.

    Thanks for you input about the lack of chart sucess for Dreamin’ My Dreams…But I do believe it was more than a few technical difficulties. Remember, ON YOUR WAY HOME was a similarly great album, (Mountain Soul too) but also struggled to chart. So it has been a trend, with not only Patty, but other Traditional artists lately. Patty had Some publicity on GAC, promotions and contests I recall for DMD, but the public wasn’t buying.

    I actually thought that On Your Way Home was one of Patty’s weaker efforts (for Sony at least). But there were a lot of label changes, particularly with the merger of Sony and BMG, and my understanding is that Loveless was largely an afterthought. The label did push On Your Way Home (even with a bonus DVD and promotional ads in Target/Best Buy etc), but Dreamin’ My Dreams was hardly pushed at all. GAC is great at pushing artists that the label isn’t bothering with – they even did a 1-hour special on Pam Tillis’ tribute album to her dad.

    It is my assertion that the market has been compromised by the inflooding of young teenagers, who prefer lighter fare. And I see Carrie, Keith, Kenny, Rascall Flatts, Taylor Swift and Sugarland (and their management) as a big part of the problem for marketing to those kids, and watering down Country music.

    It may be hard to believe, but we’re not anywhere near a historical low point for watering down country music. It was worse in the early eighties, worse in the late nineties. The names you list could be replaced in earlier times by Barbara Mandrell, Ray Price, Olivia Newton-John, Lee Greenwood, SHeDaisy, Shania Twain, Eddie Rabbitt, without changing the argument.

    Many of us are really frustrated and angry at what’s happening to Country music today. We are embarrased that these so called ambassadors who bring in so many youngsters (which in and of itself is not a bad thing) are considered the face of country music today. As I have stated before, many of these kids know only of Carrie and Kenny, and they know not of Patty, Sara, and Dwight..And they do not WANT to know modern traditionalists, nor do they have any interest in their Classic predecessors.

    That’s true. But there was a time when Dwight Yoakam was the new guy on the scene, and he inspired tons of kids to go out and find his classic predecessors. This cycle has been repeated countless times in country music history. We’re just waiting on the new crop of young traditionalists to light the flame.

    There are some exceptions however..at one of the fan clubs I belong to, there are two 14 year old guys who are considerably more knowledgable about the roots of Country, and behave far more maturely than many of the young twenty year olds on that site. This is a refreshing and hopeful sign.

    One of the cool things about music is that it’s always there, waiting to be discovered, and it’s easier than ever to do so, thanks to the internet. The people who want to find it will do so.

    What is really baffling to me Kevin, is that you, and other Carrie and Country-Pop fans here, who also seem to appreciate artists like Patty, Dwight, Sara and Vince..seem far more outraged at any questioning of Carrie’s acclaim than you are about the market conditions (fed by wave of country-pop mania) that make it very difficult for these worthy Neo-Traditional artists to be heard. Why is that? Where’s the outrage?

    If I could snap my fingers, Patty, Dwight, Vince, Pam, Chapin – they’d all be on the radio. But I was lucky enough to discover country music when they actually were. In the years since, I created a country music blog where they’re featured as prominently – perhaps more – than the flavors of the moment. Why be outraged when I can be part of the solution instead?

    Would you folks who claim to really appreciate Patty, Dwight, Sara, Vince and others really prefer to hear the Pop-Country singers all the time, and very little of the Traditonalists?

    What I hear is completely dictated by me. I don’t listen to the radio, mostly just my iPod, which features some of today’s pop-country artists but mostly those from days gone by, traditionalists and pop-country alike.

    Because that is what has been happening. Sure, it shouldnt be an either/or situation, but that is how it has been playing out.

    Just for me, I’ll say my issue is less the traditionalist/crossover imbalance and more the gender imbalance. I think that the latter is more striking and more detrimental to the genre. Quite frankly, there are far more traditionalists on the radio than there are women, so I see the latter as the more pressing issue.

  66. Let me also second this:

    I appreciate all the writers and moderators here, but I’d like to thank you especially for your responsiveness, and your voice-of-reason involvement. Always appreciated.

    Leeann’s the primary reason that our site has become known as a place for respectful and civil discussion, thanks to both her example and her actions. We are a community because of her.

  67. vpNo Gravatar says:

    steve once again if you had read my blog i did say it was no personal attack because i do not know you from jim. and also just used it as a saying as you said you use yourself, it was a categorey, that i feel alot of people on this site are in, the one that is strick with their own country music expectation and the unwillingness to be open. my blogs have been mostly trying to point out that we should all just try and enjoy the music that is out there because music is such and amazing escape from the real world. so pleasse read my blogs carefully and do not interperate them into something they are not and that is disrespectful because i have been nothing but respectful to all country artists. for the record i am not a part of carriemania as i stated befor i’m not a part of anything i just like country music and can just take how it comes and enjoy the music. but when i said she has something the rest don’t i was speaking the now today, and if read the comment was based on her being picked as the best right now by all her peers as a part of the ACAM and CMA. as for record sales i stated that kids rule the music industry as a whole, they hold the powe of popularity and no it doesn’t outrage me cause will listen to country music no matter, if i don’t like what’s on the radio i switch to a cd or my ipod to hear my variety. a perfect example of kids ruling is (for conversations sake), let’s look at TS (i do like her) but she has rereleased the same album 3 times with a couple of additions each time. i’m sorry but that is just stealing money from children that most likely comes from their parents. save all those additional songs and use them as a whole don’t cheat your fans. that is just my opinion of how kids rule the music biz. anyway this is once again off topic and as i requested befor we should stay on kevins topic which is a very good on. and most of all let’s just try and enjoy everyone for all their talents. and please read my comments carefully befor you attack me becuse i have been nothing but respectfull with my comments, it may seem as if i fighting for CU i’m not fighting for anyone just stating she must deserve it right now as her peers are the one’s picking her and putting her on top on the merit of her talent, a year from now it will be another women who will be fighting for time still against the males.

    vp

  68. KAREN KUREKNo Gravatar says:

    Thank you so much for posting this article–it is so true! I just got an issue of Star magazine and they have on the cover–Jessica & Carrie–Country Catfight!!! I dont believe Carrie would fight over any man because she could have any man she wants at this point in time!! Also I know exactly what you mean about radio airplay for women they are only allowed to play two womens music in the same hour the rest is men or groups because they try to appeal to middle age women or 25-55 yr. woman who mostly like male artists but times are changing and hopefully they will too!! Now as far as cutting down other female artist I love carrie Underwood because she has such a range of vocal ability but as far as Taylor I just dont hear the same ability to hit high notes or the range so in my opinion she can only sing what songs are written for her vocal ability not like Carrie,Faith, Miranda, etc who can cover any form of music that they wish to cover!! I wish too that people would layoff the criticism of Carries videos and start looking at some of the other videos out there– like with her new video Just A Dream has been the number one streamed video om CMT since it came out and yet it only reached number 3 on the countdown??? Also in three weeks it has had over 1,045,000 views on the youtube site!! Sounds like a number one to me!! Thanks again for bringing this issue and others to light!!

  69. KAREN KUREKNo Gravatar says:

    Stephen I’m with you on a stripped down version of Carrie’s I Know You Wont! Have you heard the one posted on the youtube site of OpryLive??? Great song!!

  70. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks Steve F and Kevin. I love the community here. Hopefully, I can live up to the high praise.

    Steve, I think Kevin’s explanation of the “hater” thing is what I was trying to get at. I, too, am in the education field and have a lot of young siblings and they always toss that word around in fun. So, I guess I’ve been desensitized to it. I understand how it could come off as offensive though (since the root of “hater”, “hate”, should be considered strong language), and being desensitized to things is not exactly something that I’m proud of. But like Kevin, it’s something that just slipped right by me. Hopefully VP, who has acknowledged using the word, will be more careful to keep the word out of the discussion, now that she’s been made aware of its power.

    JHD, it’s true. You have helped to wear me down on Carrie Underwood.:)

  71. Steve F.No Gravatar says:

    vp, I appreciate it that you didn’t MEAN it as a personal attack. But calling someone a name IS a personal attack, no matter how you explain it away. It trivializes the word “hater” and that term should not be used so casually. REAL haters do exist, as I’m sure you realize, and disputes about music do not qualify.

    And if you notice, even when I use the term “Carriemania” it is not directed against Carrie as a person or even as an artist.. but rather it is a term I use to describe what I see as a huge wave of excessive hype surrounding this undeniably talented artist. I have been very careful to avoid calling anyone here a “Carriemaniac” though such fans do exist. But there are also a Kennymania, a Taylormania, a Keithmania…etc, etc..

    I guess we are going to have to agree to disagree about the name calling. Use it however you like, some may let it go or laugh it off, as perhaps was your expectation, but some may react even more strongly than I did. So if name calling is one of your rhetorical tools, I suggest you use it with with care.

    -Steve

  72. TomNo Gravatar says:

    would it be a personal attack to call the “shania-icon-guy” a moron or just an expression of common sense?

  73. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar says:

    The comic relief is always appreciated, Tom (at least by me), but don’t push it. No one needs to be marginalized here.

  74. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    Tom, I also appreciate the commic relief, but I’ll have to second Dan. While I’m sure it’s not how you meant it, I don’t want Steve to feel as though we’re taking his concern lightly.

  75. StephenNo Gravatar says:

    I know this blog is primarily about the gender issue on country radio, but seeing as I have already addressed that, I wish to address the issue of traditional country music vs. pop-country music on radio.

    I am going to be completely honest, hearing names like Patty Loveless being thrown around makes me feel like an outside because I’m so used to hearing Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton, Faith Hill, etc. In fact, the only songs I have heard that (I believe) are traditional country are two covers by Carrie Underwood – “Make The World Go Away” and “Stand By Your Man.” (She performed both phenomenally, I might add, but I digress.)

    Those two songs, even without Underwood singing them, are brilliant songs and I have now downloaded the originals onto my iPod because I think they are brilliant songs (this is coming from someone who listens to metal music as well – I know, it’s weird listening to Carrie Underwood and metal, but it’s who I am). I wish more traditional country was played on the radio, but we have to look at this through the eyes of programming directors across the nation.

    What kind of music is going to get said station a lot of attention for playing music that their listeners (at this point, a lot of teenagers) want to hear? Unfortunately, the answer is pop-country music whereas traditional country music will be (generally) ignored. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate the pop-country music of today – I obviously do, my favorite country artists is Underwood, but I feel like the radio could use some more traditional music to balance out the pop-country radio currently being played.

    That being said, I think one of the only ways for traditional country music to resurface on the radio is if the big wigs of country music (Underwood, Urban, Chesney, Swift) all decided to release traditional country albums, or at least singles (I would love to hear a few songs on Carrie’s next album be of the “traditional” style), because these are the artists that are guaranteed airplay because they are in-demand. Think of it as a charity single (horrible comparison, but bear with me); for a charity single to sell and get a lot of attention, the most famous musicians around are asked to perform on it, therefore the single does extremely well and receives massive amounts of exposure. Likewise, a traditional country single sang by one of country music’s most popular artists might garner similar attention from country music and traditional country music might make a comeback.

    Do I make sense?

  76. Steve F.No Gravatar says:

    Thank you Kevin for taking the time to address my points so thoughtfully.

    I guess I am having trouble with your premise that there are so few slots for women. Obviously, they are equally represented at awards shows, with Female vocalist categories etc. And Entertainer of the Year is open to both genders, though historically the men have dominated, but theoritically this is an open category as well. Same with Album of the Year.

    If you are referring to radio airplay, I defer to your take on this. You are far more knowledgable than I about such matters. (It was only recently that I discovered that radio rankings are determined by “spins” as opposed to sales of singles, or when I was a kid, 45′s, lol)

    Yes, I agree about the cyclical nature of the Pop-Tradition dichotemy. And great point about the artists you cited from the eighties and nineties. The old “Murder on Music Row” thing old story. I was hoping that Patty, Vince, Dwight, and Sara could still reignite a new Traditionalist phase, but I am certainly open to new artists who may take up that torch. (I still have high hopes for Patty’s latest effort, with Sleepless Nights..hopefully this bright spark will ignite a firestorm of renewed interest in all things Traditional..but I am a realist. Still if anyone could do it, Patty can.

    Even if Patty’s ON YOUR WAY HOME is weak, as you suggest, still the point is valid that Miss Loveless has not been getting her fair share of airtime for quite a while now, despite producing some of the best stuff of her career since the turn of the century!
    But you and I disagree about OYWH. Critics loved it too, although that will not change your opinion, nor should it.

    I’d just like to share a quote from music critic Thom Jurek about OYWH..which kind of ties together that album, with the Pop-Trad issue.:

    “Who says Country Music is dead? Patty Loveless and her producer, husband Emory Gordy Jr. obviously don’t give a damn about what’s popular in the morally reprehensible and artistically bankrupt world of Nash-Vegas…On Your Way Home picks up where the rootsy heart of Loveless’ awesome Mountain Soul left off-with a solid, emotionally moving, honestly delivered set of honest-to-God country songs….

    “On Your Way Home is further proof that in her mid-40′s, Loveless is a singer who has just reached the pinnacle of musical and artistic greatness she has worked so hard for and has become a vocalist entitled to a legacy in the rich lineage of historic country music. It is alive and well in her care. ”

    I love this guy Jurek, and he states so well some big reasons why I love Patty so much!

    Kevin, I agree completely. With this site, you and many others, writers and posters alike certainly have done your part for Patty and other Traditonal artists. As I have stated before, it is a breath of fresh air to come here, and read so many supportive and appreciative posts about Patty, Vince, Dwight, Sara and others.

    And your ranking of the top 100 women of Country is just magnificent. I agree with most of your selections. But here, aren’t you pitting 100 women against each other? lol.. I’m half kidding here, but I think we all compare the ladies with each other, the men with each other and the ladies with the men as well.

    Forgive me if I am still missing your point, sometimes it take me several readings to comprehend what I may have missed!

    Getting back to your main premise, I guess I still dont fully understand why the ladies dont get more slots. Again, they are well represented in sales and awards, but come to think of it, they do not headline their concerts as readily as the men. But I think it is more complex than just sexism. Blake and others introduced another important angle that I have not fully considered before, agism. I didnt realize that Trisha, and Martina were also kind of in the same boat as Patty. I just still seem them on the air quite often, but didnt realize how long it has been since they too scored top ten hits. And the age discrimination does hit the ladies harder, same with TV anchor women. Just ain’t right.

    I guess it is a complex combination of agism and sexism, thrown in with the Pop vs Tradition aspects. And my favorite, Patty Loveless, happens to be a mature and seasoned 51, a woman and a Traditonalist. Three home runs in my book, but three strikes with the market…Just ain’t right.

    Thanks again Kevin, and to all..

    -Steve from Boston

  77. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    Personally, I loved On Your Way Home. I liked the rootsy production that jurak was talking about. I’m a sucker for rootsy though.

  78. TomNo Gravatar says:

    leeann, dan
    too late, i remembered that the “shania-icon-guy” jake or whatever his names are is still a young person. i apologise to have used the term moron in connection with him. that was most inappropriate of me. young fans are known for being most passionate about their stars.

    in the future, i just won’t pay any attention to his posts, since the conclusion is always the same, which makes them rather unsurprising reading.

  79. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    “in the future, i just won’t pay any attention to his posts, since the conclusion is always the same, which makes them rather unsurprising reading.”

    Tom, that’s the zen attitude that I’m trying to adopt too.:)

  80. Blake BoldtNo Gravatar says:

    On Your Way Home is one of the finest records of the decade IMO. I believe it surpasses a number of Loveless’ records. It had an electricity to the uptempo numbers and the ballads, especially the title cut, are killer.

  81. mimiNo Gravatar says:

    I would like to chime in here but I’m going to make it short and sweet. I’m a huge Carrie Underwood fan and I suppose I’m involved in “Carriemania.” HEE, I actually like that term. Anyhoo, I NEVER would’ve listened to country music if it wasn’t for her. Yes, I did attend a couple concerts at my local summer celebration( Brooks and Dunn and Deanna Carter)but I was basically forced and they had beer there..lol…Now, because of Carrie pretty much making me listen to country radio because I want to hear her songs, I’ve discovered music so great that I can’t get enough of it. It’s all I listen to. I’ve downloaded traditional country in the bucket loads because of the awards shows I’ve watched and the covers that Carrie has done. I can’t believe I actually missed out on this great music from my ignorance of the genre. Ok, I guess this wasn’t as short as I thought it would be but I hope I got my point across. I’m sure I’m not the only Carrie fan that feels this way either…

  82. I’m one of the few people out there who liked Strong Heart more than On Your Way Home and Mountain Soul (though not as much as Dreamin’ My Dreams.) I agree that On Your Way Home was a great sounding record. I guess I just didn’t like that particular collection of songs as much as the ones on Strong Heart and Dreamin’ My Dreams.

  83. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar says:

    Mimi, your post made me smile. What a perfect example of how Carriemania (ooo, that is fun to say) can indeed be a positive force in country music.

  84. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    Garth Brooks did that for me, Mimi. I listened to country radio in hopes of hearing “Friends In Low Places” and, as you might tell, I’ve been hooked on the genre ever since.

  85. Blake BoldtNo Gravatar says:

    Kevin,

    I’m sure that eventually I will post all of those album reviews. And yes, we have a different take on Loveless’ albums this decade, but hey, tomato, tomahto.

  86. The different take is really a tribute to the diversity of her talent, I think.

  87. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    There are worse differences to have.:)

  88. CarolNo Gravatar says:

    BRAVO….Someone finally said it all!!!!
    I agree with everything you said. So fans, stand by your “IDOL” and stop being drawn in by all the gossip. It’s all taken out of text and is just trash.
    All of you know Carrie is not like that and would never say anything bad about anybody.

  89. GavinNo Gravatar says:

    Steve…I can empathize with you on the fact that Patty Loveless isn’t being played by country radio. It just so happens I like Carrie Underwood so hearing her on the radio is a good thing as far as I’m concerned. Does that mean I think she deserves to be played more so than another artist? Absolutely not. It just so happens that a number of brilliant artists (mostly female) are being unfairly ignored by radio. It would be a perfect world if I could turn on the radio and hear a Tift Merrit or a Patty Griffin along with others. I guess my ipod will have to do until then. I don’t know if you know this or not but Carrie Underwood does have three Grammy wins (including best new artist all genre) to her credit and has co-written three number one songs. Her list of awards outside the country music industry is quite lengthy as well. Along with having a legion of fans she’s one of the most decorated artists in any genre on top of being a multi-platinum selling artist. With those kind of credentials next to her name it almost forces mainstream radio to spin her records. It seems for a woman to get heard on the radio she has to dominate the field where a man doesn’t.

  90. Steve F.No Gravatar says:

    You make some good points Gavin…I dont know a lot about airtime, and playlist slots that Kevin and others were alluding to. How such things are allocated, etc.

    But yeah if that’s what it takes for a woman to get recoginzed, (complete and utter domination of the genre) then I guess I can admit the positve influence Carrie has had for Country music, especially outside of Country circles. And I do admire the way she stood up at one of the Grammy shows and identified with Country music, saying she was proud to be Country. (not sure if that was a deliberate contrast to the Dixie Chicks, who have stated the opposite at times, in recent years, perhaps out of defensiveness)

    Anyway, I’d just like to clear up some of the misperceptions that my hyperbole and anti Carriemania rhetoric may have caused.

    -I respect Carrie Underwood for her considerable talent, but not for many of the choices she has made as an artist. I think she could have chosen better material, and for my preference, more traditional Country material.

    -I respect Carrie as a person, and for what she stands for as a human being. Didn’t she just donate the proceeds from one of her concerts to charity recently?

    -I appreciate that she has brought in many fans to Country circles, but I also see that as a double edged sword. Many Carrie fans who have posted here have gone on to learn and appreciate the depth and breadth of all that is Country, but many outside these circles have settled on Carrie, Keith, Taylor, Sugarland, and Rascall Flatts. That is all they know of country and that is all they WANT to know. (I know it is anecdotal, but I do talk to such people all the time)

    -Ok, I think I have to redefine my use of the term “Carriemanina” . There is a Rational-Carriemania and a Delusional Carriemania.,( I learned this in Psych 101, lol.) Rational Carrie”maniacs” enjoy with great enthusiasm Carrie and her music, and rejoice in her victories, and want to share her with as many people as possible. But Rational Carrie fans can also admit she has room to grow even more as an artist. They can admit that yeah, maybe she has been the beneficiary of a tide of personal popularity that has allowed her to leapfrog over other female artists, many who may be just as talented, and may have worked even harder and for longer, and competed for the same awards and honors.

    Rational Carriemania allows that Carrie has had a wave of good fortune and a little bit of luck that has allowed her to capitalize on her amazing talent, and showcase it in a most effective manner. They are gracious in victory for their hero. And one can debate the pro’s and con’s of Carrie’s effect on the Country music world with the rational Carrie fan.

    Delusional Carriemania can make no such admission. Luck had absolutely nothing to do with it in their minds, nor market trends nor youthful demographics. Carrie simply has more talent than EVERYBODY else, and simply has worked harder than EVERYBODY else in the history of country music in their opinion. And if one disagrees, one is labeled as divisive or worse. It is difficult to have a reasoned conversation with such fans.

    Here is some more evidence of delusional-Carriemania, if anyone doubts that such exists.

    Polls polls,polls…Since her string of award show sucesses and chart topping sales, Carrie has all of a sudden gotten prettier than all the other female artists,(Country Weekly’s latest poll)

    After Sara’s turn on DWTS, Carrie was also everyone’s choice as favorite prospective dance partner, the favorite artist to hang around with, ..And Carrie does not just edge out the competition in these polls, she is the overwhelming choice of the large majority of poll participants….Is Carrie the best fiddle player of all time? Let’s have a poll to find out!

    And the “who shoud win” and “who will win” polls”, the answer is always the same, Carrie Underwood.

    Is this really ALL merit driven? No subjectivity? As great as Carrie is, is REALLY that much better than EVERYONE ELSE?!

    Polls are fun, and not very meaningful in the end, except that they are kind of a snapshot pulse reading of a given audience, for a particular purpose.

    But such polls are indicators, and do support the existence of a cultural phenomena known as “Carriemania” for better or worse.

    As to why many folks single out Carrie for criticism as well, she is most popular and acclaimed of the Pop-Country artists (and arguably the most talented.)

    I’m sure there are rational and delusional forms of Keithmania, Sugarmania, Rascallmania, Kennymania, Taylormania as well as Alanmania, Paisleymania, Shaniamania and even Pattymania and Saramania as well..But “Carriemania” in all it’s forms, is simply the most dominant and influential. And it remains to be seen whether this phenomena it is the most constructive or destructive in the Country music world today, or something in between.

    -Steve from Boston

  91. JakeNo Gravatar says:

    Steve, I don’t know where you have been the last decade but Shaniamania was so much bigger and so global and went on for a decade.
    Shania is just on another league as far as impact and influence all over the world.

    Steve, I don’t know if you are being sarcastic or what but Shania was the most bashed artist in history from the industry. She had to work and fight to become on top of the world.
    Underwood just got to breeze in without any backlash from the industry.
    It seems you are more obsessed with Carrie Underwood than most of her fans posting here.
    Thats why this post and headline doesn’t really make sense. Because there is nothing to compare between a global icon like Shania who took country music worldwide to another level and a American Idol winner turned country singer.
    Shania and her husband did it on their own outside of the nashville system and did it their way. They had to fight to be accepted and they changed the face of country music forever.
    We will never again see the likes of a big star like Shania who dominated the world in all aspects of her music career.

  92. JakeNo Gravatar says:

    Steve F. , I am just curious, are you a Carrie Underwood fan because you keep on talking about her more than her fans do.
    I am also curious of how old you are and were you a fan from 1995-2003 when Shania dominated in sales,tours worldwide and was blamed for the fall of country music.
    Shaniamania was the biggest in the world in country music history and Shania till this day is blamed for blurring the lines between country and pop. Shania was bashed and snubbed by the industry for doing her own thing.
    Shaniamania at its peak was the biggest mania I have ever seen because it was worldwide and changed the face of country music. Shania has been on hiatus for a few years and her massive impact is seen in the new acts these days who use her name in their songs or who say she was a role model.
    Shania was the most bashed artist in history and blamed for the downfall of country music.

    Nowadays is small apples when you compare it to the hey days of the biggest of alltime, Shania.

    I can’t wait till she comes back with some great music and shows everyone how it is done again.

  93. Blake BoldtNo Gravatar says:

    Both Carrie and Shania are terrific at what they do and have been classy ambassadors for country music. Although there is competition in the genre, I do believe these two artists would get along famously and be happy for each other’s success.

  94. JakeNo Gravatar says:

    Blake, you missed the point again, there is nothing to compare. Shania is global and worldwide and an icon and did things on her own without Nashville. Shanis is credited with changing the face of country music forever.
    I just think it is absurd to even try to compare Shania’s massive impact,influence and power all over the world to an American Idol singer who is controlled by Nashville.
    Shania set the standard of success for woman and Shania is a worldwide icon.
    Maybe talk about Shania and Dolly together because they both are international icons and both did their own thing but lets not compare apples and oranges.

  95. Steve F.No Gravatar says:

    Jake, I’m not taking your bait. Shania’s great, I’ll leave it at that. I actually enjoy her stuff more than Carrie’s. But I respect Carrie as a real talent as well. I just don’t like Pop-Country artists getting so much more air-time and recognition than my Traditonal favorites.

    If you want more answers to the questions you addressed to me, I suggest you read all my posts on the subject. Then you will know where I am coming from. I have made my points, and overstated them at times, but I am pretty much done with this particular debate.

    -Steve

  96. Steve F.No Gravatar says:

    Just one more point Jake…Yes, I do realize what a record-breaking record-maker Shania is.

  97. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    Jake, say something new or your posts will be deleted. We know you love Shania and that she’s “global.” Stop clogging this blog with your Shania centric comments and Add something to the conversation.

  98. Country RadioNo Gravatar says:

    “Miranda Lambert is a brilliant talent with strengths completely different from Carrie Underwood’s. She shouldn’t replace Carrie on the radio dial; she should join her. Let some of the interchangeable men step aside instead. Country music was far more interesting when women were dominating it because each woman had their own different style and unique contributions to offer.”

    I agree. Country radio plays 80% male artists. A handful of mostly male artists are always in the top 5 and many new males make top 5, however most of the great female artists are barred. They need to play more of the best females like Miranda Lambert and Kellie Pickler a lot more and the men a lot less. Many male artists make top 5 all year but no female since Taylor in early 2007 and maybe 1 Martina song has made it. Sad.

  99. Chris D.No Gravatar says:

    I completely agree country radio. If they would play people like Lee Ann Womack, SHeDAISY, Jamie O’Neal, Jennifer Hanson, LeAnn Rimes, and Terri Clark more (all these artists have been shut out lately, in my opinion), radio would sound better and be more diverse.

  100. [...] Analysis of news items and/or current trends [...]

  101. MikeNo Gravatar says:

    Wow, I am glad I didn’t get in the middle of this catfight, but I don’t mind being the 101st poster.

    This really doesn’t have necessarily to do with talent, or even music, for that matter, but if they were to have a 10 Most Beautiful Women list, you would see Shania up there with Paris Hilton and Anna K. and Kiera.

    I honestly don’t think Carrie would make the list, in spite of the fact that she is a very beatiful woman.

  102. RileyNo Gravatar says:

    I love Carrie Underwood and everything she sings! I believe that her Cd’s are two of the few CD’s out there that you can listen to from beginning to end and not get bored with them. If you have listened to Carnival Ride all the way through you would know that Carrie has been singing more traditional music. Don’t get me wrong, but Miranda sings Gunpowder & Lead why is it wrong for Carrie to sing Last Name and get a hit from it? Most of my favorite artists are female artist’s like carrie underwood obviously, Taylor Swift, and Miranda Lambert. I have seen Carrie Underwood Live twice now and she has got some serious talent! Her voice is AMAZING! I think that Carrie in some ways has changed the veiw of women in country music. They play more female music now today than ever before. It also seems like most of the newcomers are female like Heidi Newfield, Crystal Shawanda, and Julianne Hough. The guys are still there and continue to have success too so I don’t get why some people find the need to make up story’s about the female artist that are so nasty. This is a great article and I agree with all of the stuff that Kevin is saying. Go Carrie and all the other female artists! I also like the fact that she dosen’t change her music so that it is played on pop radio! BTW Carrie didn’t win Country’s most beautiful woman Kellie Pickler did! I guess I’m part of “Carriemania” and I am proud to be ther!!

  103. RileyNo Gravatar says:

    Also one other thing if Shania Twain is so great and you want to hear her music on the radio maybe she should make a new record. Hmm just a thought.

Leave a Comment




This site is using OpenAvatar based on

Writers

Latest Comments

Most Popular

Worth Reading

View Older Posts