Welcome to Playlists, a series where we turn over the reigns to artists to curate the next big playlist
From Linda Ronstadt‘s Heart Like a Wheel and Carole King’s Tapestry to Emmylou Harris’ Wrecking Ball, Holly Williams’ The Highway and Miranda Lambert’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, women have contributed some of the most compelling and exciting work in the pantheon of country music. Without their willingness to show us their scars, their heartaches and their dreams, storytelling would be severely malnourished. “Takes a right kind of woman to get things done,” outlier Derek Hoke permits in the opening verse of a rugged cut from his new album, Bring the Flood. It is an apt observation, a necessary one to accompany the dire circumstances still afflicting the world in 2017.
His statement also serves as an appropriate lead-in to his freshly-pressed playlist, exclusive to B-Sides & Badlands, called 10 Country Women You Oughta Be Listening To, which features such sterling players and songwriters as Thayer Sarrano, Elizabeth Cook, Kelsey Waldon and Erin Rae & the Meanwhiles. Below, Hoke walks us through the lineup, giving his snap thoughts on each entry.
“Long Way Down” by Becca Mancari
There’s a certain dreamy-ness to Becca’s brand of Americana. I’m a sucker for that kind of sound. Her music has a big and open feel to it. Inviting you to get lost in it.
“Shaky” by Thayer Sarrano
Thayer is a multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter that Nashville is lucky to have. A true artist. Her sonic palette knows no boundaries, and her songs pull you in with mystery and wonder.
“Darkness Falls So Quiet” by Nicole Atkins
Soul just exudes out of Nicole. A dynamic writer and performer. Country-Soul with class. Never overbearing. Her songs sound like timeless classics.
“All Kinds Of People” by Lilly Hiatt
The perfect blend of Country and Rock ‘n Roll. Lilly’s voice has that natural rural quality that so many others try to emulate. The real deal.
“Dyin’” by Elizabeth Cook
Strong and passionate, Elizabeth continues to grow as an artist. On her album, ‘Exodus of Venus,’ she proves that some of the best art can come out of the worst pain.
“High In Heels” by Kelsey Walden
You can just hear the “Kentucky” in her voice. Keeping it country while keeping it cool.
“Owe You One” by Erin Rae and the Meanwhiles
I just love her voice so much. The innocence. The gravity. Erin Rae would be in fine company with the likes of Alison Krauss and Shawn Colvin. Her songs have integrity and grace.
“Hotel Amarillo” by Caroline Spence
A wonderful singer/songwriter exploring the space between Rock and Country. As Jim Lauderdale would say, “Now THAT’S Americana!”
“Each Season” by Nora Jane Struthers
Nora Jane came on to the scene as a bluegrass player and singer. I love the progression she’s taken with her music. All the high and lonesome vibes are still there. Just weaving in and out of different sonic landscapes.
“The Last Time” by Lillie Mae
Another bluegrass influenced artist stretching the boundaries of country music. A true performer since a very young age. Using elements of traditional bluegrass with a punk rock attitude. Excited to hear where her music will go.
Photo Courtesy of Joshua Black Wilkins