Trisha Yearwood recently visited with Terri Clark for her Country Gold podcast. Over the course of her fifteen minute interview, she previewed her upcoming country album and talked about both her female influences and the importance of upcoming female artists being able to have their own influences on the radio.
Here are some select quotes from the interview.
On her new country album:
I’m almost with a country record, so I’ll come back and stalk you in the fall because I’ve got a new record coming. So we’ve got two records this year.
On working with Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson on “Softly and Tenderly”:
Reba is the consummate professional. Talk about somebody who walks in and gets it on the first take. She and Kelly Clarkson and I sang together. It was like, our vocals were done in like, twenty minutes, and we went to lunch. Seriously. It was like, “I’ll sing my part. You go sing your part.” Everybody did, like, one pass through. Everybody sang on pitch, and we went to lunch.
On how women dominated nineties country and are now not being played on the radio:
I don’t know why things are that way. I hear things like, “Well, there’s a rule you don’t play women back to back on the radio, and you’ve got to play four guys for every one girl. It’s just ridiculous to me because I think, as a young girl listening to music, I needed a female role model, and Reba was a role model for me. Linda Ronstadt was a role model for me. Patty Loveless. I don’t know. These girls still need female role models, so there’s room for everybody. I don’t know what changed, but I do think talking about it is the first step to getting– maybe some people don’t even realize it.
I had not made a record in a long time, and when I started doing interviews, and people started asking me, I was like, “Oh my gosh, you’re right.” I mean, in the nineties, there were so many of us doing that. So, I just feel like we’ve got to do what we do and find a way to get it out there. I don’t know the answer.
I think all the girl singers should go picket the radio stations. I’ll drive.
A bunch of women showing up at a radio station would scare people, and I think we could get some stuff done.
On the songwriting exile from Music Row:
Because of our poor songwriters who can’t make a living writing songs anymore…the number’s something like 80% of songwriters have left Nashville. So it’s kind of why, with no offense to the ones who are left, why there’s so many things that sound sort of the same, because the same songwriters are writing a lot of the songs.
Talking a little about this country record. I didn’t do this intentionally, but I noticed, now that we’re almost finished, that most of the songs on this new record I have out in the fall have a female co-writer or a female writer on them. And the demos! Oh my God, these women people don’t know about are amazing. So I’m hoping that I can help in some way just to kind of shine a light.
On how we consume music in 2019:
We have to seek out our music. We don’t listen to music the way that we used to. We don’t discover new music anymore, really. We ask for something to be played, our device at home to “play this.” You can’t ask your device to play a song you don’t know yet. We need to make sure we go out and discover those new songs, new artists.
Our stuff is not really available on vinyl, because in the nineties, CD’s were kind of everywhere, so we’re starting to reissue stuff on vinyl because it’s not really out there from the nineties. And vinyl kind of makes you listen to a whole album again, because you’re going to put the vinyl on and you’re going to let it play. And that’s a good thing, too.
This was a great episode! Trisha also did a great episode with Build Series, which is also released as a podcast.
Another really good interview on the Country Gold podcast is the Brothers Osborne episode. The brothers, without prompting from Terry, brought upthat they can’t understand why female artists aren’t being played on radio.
I thought the estimate of songwriters leaving Nashville under “Songwriting exile from Music Row” was kind of high but them i found this:
Nashville Has Lost More Than 80 Percent of Its Professional …
https://www.musictimes.com › Buzz › Genres
Jan 9, 2015 – But a great feature from The Tennessean demonstrates that things aren’t so rosy … That number comes from the Nashville Songwriters Association.
I don’t think there is one singular moment where or when the number of women getting country radio airplay fell so precipitously, but probably at least three separate moments. One of them was, in my opinion, the ultra-patriotic fervor that came in the wake of 9/11, which led to Toby Keith’s “Courtesy Of The Red, White, And Blue”. Another was the Dixie Chicks’ “incident” in London, which led to their stuff being removed from country radio, possibly for all time. And a third may have been the “Muzik Mafia” of Big & Rich, which was country’s first flirtation with rap (“hick-hop”, perhaps?), and arguably the forerunner of Bro-Country.
Another problem, however, is that the country music industry and its lsbel chiefs, both before and after digital downloads, have considered country a largely singles-driven format, while Trisha has primarily been an album artist in the manner of Linda, whose career was driven by albums even more than by hit singles. I don’t think Nashville gets that; in fact, I don’t think they have ever gotten it.
“I don’t think there is one singular moment where or when the number of women getting country radio airplay fell so precipitously, but probably at least three separate moments. One of them was, in my opinion, the ultra-patriotic fervor that came in the wake of 9/11, which led to Toby Keith’s “Courtesy Of The Red, White, And Blue”. Another was the Dixie Chicks’ “incident” in London, which led to their stuff being removed from country radio, possibly for all time. And a third may have been the “Muzik Mafia” of Big & Rich, which was country’s first flirtation with rap (“hick-hop”, perhaps?), and arguably the forerunner of Bro-Country.”
So basically, 9/11 led to the decline of women on radio?
Also: I never voluntarily listen to podcasts, so I haven’t heard this, but Trisha does make some good points. Personally, I think that instead of her husband getting into vinyl with his Legacy box set, he should’ve done the LP reissues album by album, day and date with reissues of Trisha’s work. But hey, as long as it gets more Nineties country onto vinyl beyond the jukebox-only 45s of the era… (yes, record labels were still releasing vinyl in the CD era.)
And could this new country record she’s promising in the fall be the one she’s been trying to get off the ground for years, with Lucie Silvas songs, as mentioned in her entry in the 100 Greatest Women 10th Anniversary Edition?
9/11 had nothing to do with the decline of female voices on the radio.
It was the rise of bro-country and metro-bro that caused the present situation along with the loss of any modern traditionalists.
Frankly, it is quite annoying how singers like Josh Turner and Joe Nichols basically have been exiled from radio because of their sound but few, if any country music journalists outside of Saving Country Music, care that the traditionalist sound is almost extinct on the dial. That is a bigger concern than just gender. We need traditionalists; be them all male or all female.