Photo: Courtesy of the Recording Academy/Rebecca Sapp for Getty Images
7 Things We Learned At The GRAMMY Museum's 'The Power Of Women In Country Music' Exhibit
Artifacts from Taylor Swift, Dolly Parton and more shine at the new exhibit, which celebrates the role of women in one of music’s oldest genres.
"The Power Of Women In Country Music" exhibit opened May 27 at the GRAMMY Museum in downtown Los Angeles, and it's a must-see for any lover of country music, strong women, or the history of the recording industry at large.
Encompassing almost 100 years of female-led folk or hillbilly music, the exhibit looks at the evolution of what it means to be a woman in the country genre — from its first pioneers to today's generation of future stars.
Whether you're a fan of Dolly Parton, Shania Twain, Maybelle Carter, or Kelsea Ballerini, you'll find something to love at "The Power Of Women." Full of stage-worn costumes, hand-written lyrics sheets, and well-loved instruments, the exhibit will allow visitors to see relics such as Taylor Swift's stage props and Patsy Cline's dress made by her mother.
There's lots to learn, too. You can get to know tones of instruments like the autoharp, or explore the early plight of women in country music, when the industry was a bit more concerned with style than substance.
The exhibit will run through Sun. Oct. 2. Whether you are hoping to check it out yourself or just curious what it's all about, here are some of the biggest takeaways from "The Power Of Women In Country Music" at the GRAMMY Museum.
The Arc Of Women In Country Music Is Long
Long before country music was recorded, women were helping define its sound, whether it was through strumming a banjo on a front porch or belting out a twangy traditional in church.
In 1927, the Carter Family's Maybelle and Sara Carter made the first country music recordings featuring women. That doesn't mean the doors busted wide open in their wake — women were still mainly shuffled into roles primarily as family caregivers and support staff for their working husbands.
That started to change a bit after World War II, when artists like Patsy Cline and Rose Maddox started to make waves by crossing over onto the pop charts. But the real heyday of women in country music didn't come until perhaps the late '80s or early '90s, when stars like Reba McEntire and Shania Twain became truly international superstars.
Many, many women helped pave the road along the way, and "The Power Of Women In Country Music" helps celebrate their stories.
"The Singing Cowgirl" Deserves More Credit
Everyone knows about Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, but in the mid-'30s, female country artists like Patsy Montana, Rose Maddox, and The Girls Of The Golden West found success as "singing cowgirls." (In fact, as her part of the exhibit details, Montana was the first female country singer to sell a million records.)
Dressed in fringed skirts, bolero vests, and wide-brimmed Stetson hats, singing cowgirls reminded Depression-struck America that it was still possible to be determined, optimistic, and in charge of their own destiny — even when things didn't always seem so bright.
Fun fact: The success of singing cowgirls and their male counterparts is part of the reason that the genre eventually became called "Country & Western."
There's More To Country Music Than Just Being On Stage
Many women have made their mark in country music through songwriting rather than through performance. There's some crossover, of course — Dolly Parton and Maren Morris broke into the industry by writing songs for others before finding their own success — but women like Jessie Jo Dillon, Laura Veltz, and Liz Rose have become country powerhouses because of the power of their pens rather than their voices.
That makes a lot of sense, given how much Nashville values the craft of songwriting. "The Power Of Women" contains handwritten lyrics for songs like Diane Warren's "How Do I Live" (made famous by LeAnn Rimes) and Dan + Shay's "Tequila," which was co-written by Nicolle Galyon, who has co-written nine other no. 1 hits as well as Miranda Lambert's GRAMMY-nominated "Automatic."
Country Women Can Be Stronger Together
Among country's singular female stars like Dolly, Reba, and Shania, the exhibit reminds that some of the genre’s biggest women acts have found strength and success in groups. The Judds and the Chicks had massive success in the '80s and '90s, respectively; today, groups like the Pistol Annies and the Highwomen create songs and sounds that mesmerize and mystify.
Those groups are also often made up of powerhouse acts in their own right, like Dolly Parton, Linda Rondstandt, and Emmylou Harris' Trio, and the Pistol Annies' Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe, and Angeleena Presley. Visitors to "The Power Of Women" exhibit can check out the Pistol Annies' fun nameplates ("Lonestar Annie," "Hippie Annie" and "Holler Annie"), as well as the outfits the trio wore on the cover of their 2021 Christmas album, Hell Of A Holiday.
Country's Females Have Always Pushed Genre Limits
Starting in the '70s and '80s, a group of female musicians emerged that would challenge what it meant to be a country music star. Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, and Rosanne Cash blurred the lines between country and rock, while Alison Krauss broke into bluegrass's boys club.
"The Power Of Women" pays tribute to those pioneers with a display case containing, among other things, the beautifully embroidered, Manuel-created boots Harris wore on the cover of 1979's excellent Blue Kentucky Girl.
The exhibit also tips its hat to genre-crossing artists like Shania Twain, Faith Hill, and Taylor Swift, all of whom crossed over into the pop and rock spheres, pushing both the boundaries of what country music could be and drawing new fans to the genre.
Even Taylor Swift Used To Buy Off The Rack
Some of the most interesting artifacts in "The Power Of Women" exhibit are the stage and video-worn outfits sent from the closets of country's biggest stars. There are two looks from Dolly Parton set on mannequins that really let viewers know just how tiny she really is. One — a red and pink high-necked dress — was worn by Parton on the cover of 1972's Together Always with Porter Wagoner.
One of the sweetest garments on display in "The Power Of Women" is also one of its most understated: An orange cotton day dress made in the '50s or early '60s for Patsy Cline by her mother, Hilda Hensley. Cline died in a plane crash in 1962, when she was just 30, and the dress is a bittersweet reminder of how young she was, and how close she remained with her family.
Taylor Swift sent over four outfits, including one worn on stage at the 63rd GRAMMY Awards. The other three outfits were worn in various music videos, like 2008's "Tim McGraw," which found Swift and her stylist pulling from racks at BCBGIRLS and Betsey Johnson to create the starlet's on-screen look.
Speaking of GRAMMY-worn outfits, Shania Twain fans will certainly recognize the satin suit/gown and top hat that Twain wore for both the "Man! I Feel Like A Woman" music video and on stage at the 41st Annual GRAMMY Awards. It sits not too far from one of Faith Hill's actual GRAMMY statues, her Best Female Country Vocal Performance gramophone she won for “Cry” in 2003.
Country's Female Future Is Strong
"The Power Of Women" devotes considerable space to women that might not yet be household names, but who have a strong chance at becoming country's next big stars. It's an incredibly diverse group of artists — something country music hasn't always been known for — including Black women like Reyna Roberts and Brittney Spencer, Mexican-American artists like Leah Turner, and stars who have risen from TV competitions, like The Voice's Danielle Bradbery.
The exhibit even highlights acts from outside of the U.S. who have found their way to country music, like the U.K.'s Yola, proving that the genre is only growing in popularity and reach — with women continuing to break the mold.
Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
FYI/TMI: Are Taylor Swift And Ed Sheeran Getting Together?
Rumors surface that the two are in a red-hot relationship; Sony/ATV Music Publishing named top publisher of fourth quarter in 2012
(In an effort to keep you fully informed, and fully entertained, below we present today's FYI and TMI — news you need and news that's, well, sometimes needless….)
Sony/ATV Claims Top Publisher In Q4 2012
Sony/ATV Music Publishing, which in June 2012 acquired administration of EMI Music Publishing, was the top publisher in the fourth quarter of 2012 based on its 25.8 percent share of the top 100 songs during the period, according to figures released by Nielsen BDS. No. 2 was Kobalt Music Group (16.5 percent share), followed by Universal Music Publishing Group (15.9 percent share), Warner/Chappell Music (14.2 percent share), and BMG Chrysalis (5.3 percent share).
Swift Getting Together With Sheeran?
Taylor Swift may never be getting back together with a few people — like, ever — but that isn't stopping her from joining "The A Team." According to a report, Swift and GRAMMY-nominated singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran were reportedly seen together at a hotel in late February. Adding more red-hot fuel to the fire, Sheeran collaborated with Swift on her latest album, Red, the name of which is also a tattoo on Sheeran's left arm. Since Swift and Sheeran supposedly dated briefly last spring, maybe they are, like, getting back together.
Photo: Rebecca Sapp/WireImage.com
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Take Over The GRAMMY Museum
Hip-hop duo discuss their career beginnings and creating their GRAMMY-nominated album The Heist
Current seven-time GRAMMY nominees Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, along with their manager Zach Quillen, recently participated in an installment of the GRAMMY Museum's A Conversation With series. Before an intimate audience at the Museum's Clive Davis Theater, the hip-hop duo and Quillen discussed the beginning of the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' career, having creative control over their work and recording their GRAMMY-nominated Album Of The Year, The Heist.
"I met somebody [who] had the same dedication as me, [who] put everything into the music, everything into the craft," said Ben Haggerty (aka Macklemore) regarding meeting Lewis. "I wanted a career and Ryan was somebody [who] had the same discipline and sacrificed everything."
"I think it took a little while before it became clear to me who [Macklemore] was going to be," said Lewis. "I think the first indication of that was with the song 'Otherside' from the VS. Redux EP]. … That song … embodied so much. It was a story nobody was telling. … It was just somebody who was dying to be on the mike and to say something."
Seattle-based rapper Macklemore and DJ/producer Lewis have been making music fans take notice since they released their debut EP, 2009's The VS. EP. They followed with VS. Redux, which reached No. 7 on the iTunes Hip-Hop chart. The duo made waves in 2011 with the release of their hit single "Can't Hold Us" featuring Ray Dalton. The next year Macklemore was featured on the cover of XXL Magazine's coveted freshman class issue, and Rolling Stone dubbed the duo an "indie rags-to-riches" success story.
Released in 2012, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' debut studio album, The Heist, reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200, propelled by the No. 1 hits "Can't Hold Us" and "Thrift Shop," the latter of which reached multi-platinum status and remained on top of the charts for six weeks. The album garnered a nomination for Album Of The Year and Best Rap Album at the 56th GRAMMY Awards, while "Thrift Shop" earned a nod for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song. The duo's Top 20 hit "Same Love" featuring Mary Lambert earned a nomination for Song Of The Year and has been adopted by some as a pro-equality anthem. The duo garnered additional nominations for Best New Artist and Best Music Video for "Can't Hold Us."
Upcoming GRAMMY Museum events include Icons Of The Music Industry: Ken Ehrlich (Jan. 14) and A Conversation With Peter Guralnick (Jan. 15).
Walk, Don't Run: 60 Years Of The Ventures Exhibit Will Showcase The Surf-Rock Icons' Impact On Pop Culture
The exhibit, opening Dec. 7, will feature late band member Mel Taylor's Gretsch snare drum, a 1965 Ventures model Mosrite electric guitar, the original 45 rpm of "Walk Don't Run" and more
Influential instrumental rock band The Ventures are getting their own exhibit at the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles that will showcase the band's impact on pop culture since the release of their massive hit "Walk, Don't Run" 60 years ago.
The Rock Hall of Fame inductees and Billboard chart-toppers have become especially iconic in the surf-rock world, known for its reverb-loaded guitar sound, for songs like "Wipeout," "Hawaii Five-O" and "Walk, Don't Run." The Walk, Don't Run: 60 Years Of The Ventures exhibit opening Dec. 7 will feature late band member Mel Taylor's Gretsch snare drum, a 1965 Ventures model Mosrite electric guitar, the original 45 rpm of "Walk Don't Run," a Fender Limited Edition Ventures Signature guitars, rare photos and other items from their career spanning six decades and 250 albums.
“It’s such an honor to have an exhibit dedicated to The Ventures at the GRAMMY Museum and be recognized for our impact on music history,” said Don Wilson, a founding member of the band, in a statement. "I like to think that, because we ‘Venturized’ the music we recorded and played, we made it instantly recognizable as being The Ventures. We continue to do that, even today."
Don Wilson, Gerry McGee, Bob Spalding, and Leon Taylor are current band members. On Jan. 9, Taylor's widow and former Fiona Taylor, Ventures associated musician Jeff "Skunk" Baxter and others will be in conversation with GRAMMY Museum Artistic Director Scott Goldman about the band's journey into becoming the most successful instrumental rock band in history at the Clive Davis Theater.
"The Ventures have inspired generations of musicians during their storied six-decade career, motivating many artists to follow in their footsteps and start their own projects," said Michael Sticka, GRAMMY Museum President. "As a music museum, we aim to shine a light on music education, and we applaud the Ventures for earning their honorary title of 'the band that launched a thousand bands.' Many thanks to the Ventures and their families for letting us feature items from this important era in music history."
The exhibit will run Dec. 7–Aug. 3, 2020 at the GRAMMY Museum.
Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/VMN19/Getty Images
Taylor Swift Plots 2020 World Tour With U.S. Dates For Lover Fest East & West
Following dates in Europe and South America, Swift will land in the U.S. for Lover Fest East and West, where the pop star will open Los Angeles' brand new stadium
Taylor Swift will be spreading the love in support of her hit album Lover.in 2020, but it may or may not be in a city near you. The GRAMMY winner announced plans for her summer 2020 tour in support of her seventh studio album, including two shows each in Foxborough, Mass. and Los Angeles for Lover Fest East and West respectively as the only four U.S. dates announced so far.
The Lover album is open fields, sunsets, + SUMMER. I want to perform it in a way that feels authentic. I want to go to some places I haven’t been and play festivals. Where we didn’t have festivals, we made some. Introducing, Lover Fest East + West! https://t.co/xw6YMN38WE pic.twitter.com/IhVPQ8DMUG— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) September 17, 2019
The tour kicks off in Belgium on June 20 and hits festivals in seven European countries before heading to Sao Paulo, Brazil on July 18 then heading to U.S. Swift will then present Lover Fest West with back-to-back Los Angeles July 25 and 26 at the newly named SoFi Stadium. The concerts will serve as the grand opening of the much-anticipated NFL venue. The tour will wrap a double header at Gillette Stadiuim in Foxborough July 31 and Aug 1
"The Lover album is open fields, sunsets, + SUMMER. I want to perform it in a way that feels authentic," she tweeted. "I want to go to some places I haven’t been and play festivals. Where we didn’t have festivals, we made some. Introducing, Lover Fest East + West!"
Tickets for the new dates go on sale to the general public via Ticketmaster on Oct. 17.