Martina McBride Says Country’s Turning Back to Honest Songwriting
Martina McBride has been around the block in country music, watching the trends ebb and flow, and she agrees with other artists that songwriting in country music has fallen into a predictable pattern over the last few years. But she thinks it’s coming back toward the honest songwriting she believes in.
“Songwriting has changed because for the past few years there has been a formula at country radio,” she tells Rolling Stone Country. “‘Bro country,’ or whatever you want to call it, but there is a formula, definitely. Songwriters have to make a living and they write songs for the formula. But it’s taking a turn again back to — I don’t want to say real songs, because they are real songs — but toward songs that are more lyrics-based and touch on human emotions and human stories, and are not quite so one-dimensional.”
McBride has always been known for recording tunes steeped in story, evident in hits like “Independence Day,” “Concrete Angel” and “This One’s For the Girls,” among others. Singer-songwriters including Maren Morris, Kacey Musgraves and Miranda Lambert certainly fall into the camp of raw, honest storytellers, and now more than ever, artists and fans alike are championing the talent and importance of women in music.
McBride agrees, especially when it comes to encouraging younger artists.
“When women support each other, they’re strong as a whole,” she says, “and any woman who has a win, it’s a win for all of us.”
After Tomatogate, McBride, Maddie & Tae, Kelsea Ballerini and the rest of the aforementioned artists have banded together to fight back against the gender gap in the country industry, particularly at radio. Carrie Underwood intentionally featured an all-female band with her at the 2016 CMAs, explaining that she thought country could use a boost in gender equality.
“We really just wanted to have a lot of women onstage,” Underwood says. “Gorgeous, talented, amazing women, because I feel like our country format could use some more, so let’s bring them all onstage at once.”
McBride also performed at the CMAs alongside Underwood, Musgraves, Reba McEntire and others in a tribute to the legendary Dolly Parton. McBride lent her voice to the iconic tune “I Will Always Love You.”
It was recently announced that McBride would extend her Love Unleashed Tour featuring Lauren Alaina, teaming up with CMT’s Next Women of Country initiative.
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