Many of the greatest chapters in country music’s history have been written by female country artists. Chapters written by legends we know by first name only to more recent chapters written by today’s leading ladies have become synonymous with country music’s history.
To celebrate Women’s History Month, we asked Taylor Austin Dye, Chelsey Carter, Allie Colleen, Sarah Martin and Dallas Remington to spread the love towards their five favorite songs by female artists, and they didn’t disappoint!
Taylor Austin Dye
Ode to Billie Joe – Bobby Gentry
My first pick has to go to none other than Bobby Gentry with “Ode to Billie Joe.” Not only is this one of my favorite songs to cover, but I absolutely love the storytelling aspect of this story that is told so casually around the dinner table. For me, Gentry’s songwriting is truly the pinnacle of female country music.
Here for the Party- Gretchen Wilson
I had to include one of my greatest inspirations in this list. Gretchen Wilson is someone who I grew up listening to, and her influence is often heard in my own music. I’ll never forget receiving her Here for the Party CD for Christmas and learning every song by the next day.
Bye Bye- Jo Dee Messina
Another huge inspiration to me is Jo Dee Messina. I grew up listening to her hits coming across the radio in eastern Kentucky in my mom’s Cadillac Deville. It’s definitely a full circle moment for me to get to open for her later this year!
You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive- Patty Loveless
I think Patty Loveless has one of the best and most timeless voices there is. It’s a no brainer that she would make my top five. I have always loved covering her version of “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive.” The whole Mountain Soul album is one of my all time favorites to jam out to on a sunny drive!
More Like Her- Miranda Lambert
This list was definitely harder to narrow down than I anticipated. While I tried to make my last selection, I was struggling between greats like Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, Dolly, Tanya Tucker, Alison Krauss, Tammy Wynette; the list could go on, but when I sat down to think about it, I knew I couldn’t leave Miranda Lambert out. The first song I ever taught myself on guitar was “Kerosene” back in 2005. From there, I taught myself pretty much all of her catalogue. She has consistently inspired me throughout my music career, and her music truly raised me. I still try to cover at least one of her songs in every show I play!
More Hearts Than Mine- Ingrid Andress
I’m honestly not even sure where to start with this one, because even reading the title gets me a little misty. My friends all have a joke that whenever it comes on, someone has to drop everything and change the song before I start full on ugly-crying; and it’s important to note that this is NOT a sad song whatsoever. In my opinion, this is one of the best written songs of our generation. It’s a beautifully written song that is relatable to just about anyone, and I’m gonna leave it at that. If you’ve never heard it, you need to give it a listen immediately, but definitely bring a tissue along in case you’re like me and get absolutely annihilated with the feels.
Any Man Of Mine- Shania Twain
I think it goes without saying that Shania Twain is the number one female icon in country music and continues to be a force to be reckoned with. It’s hard to pick a favorite song from her catalog, however, I think “Any Man Of Mine” might be mine. This song is a total smack in the face, and if you want to be her man, she tells you exactly what to do and what not to do in the most unapologetic way. She is not going to sit back and accept anything less than what she deserves, and I think that’s something that all women need to remember and practice.
Gunpowder and Lead- Miranda Lambert
It ain’t girl country without a “kill your husband” kinda song, and no one does it better than Miranda Lambert. This song radiates confidence, power and justice in the most hardcore way. Personally, I can’t get enough of the guitar lick that drives the verses and the imagery she paints in the lyrics. She creates such a strong picture that transplants you into her shoes and demands that you stand in her shoes for the three or so minutes that the song runs for.
Miss Me More- Kelsea Ballerini
There are two major things that made me fall in love with this song. First, the lyrics could not be more relatable. I think most people have been in relationships where they’ve kind of lost themselves or morphed into someone who their partner wanted. It’s a lesson that you have to experience to learn, and once you go through the fire, you come out stronger and more sure of who you are. The second thing is that it sounds like a song that Britney Spears could have done, and if you don’t like Britney Spears, then we probably won’t be great friends.
Road Runner- Lainey Wilson
Name a person who hasn’t wanted to hit the road at some point and just drive! Whether we actually do it or not, I think a small part of all of us wants to get up and go wherever the wind blows us, and “Roadrunner” is our female anthem to do so.
Stand Beside Me- Jo Dee Messina
Jo Dee is the QUEEN. This song is so gorgeous and set a standard for me as a little girl that I would find a partner that took on the world WITH ME, not for me or despite me, but would learn, grow, and so be it, fail with me. How beautiful.
There Is No Arizona- Jamie O’Neal
Still to this day, I practice this song and cannot fully sing it in its original glorious key, but ONE DAY I will! My sisters and my mom would sing our hearts out to this song the car. It always makes me think of them, and also it makes me a better vocalist each time I get to sing it.
This Is Me You’re Talking To- Trisha Yearwood
It’s funny as a woman that the thought has crossed my mind a time or two that if I was to have children, what songs would their little beautiful hearts break to? I wonder if, as a mom, Trisha ever thought that something she would sing would allow a daughter to process heartbreak. This is that song for me.
No Scrubs- TLC
No explanation needed.
Beautiful Disaster (Live)- Kelly Clarkson
Another song I have practiced since I was a little girl that I still cannot fully sing in the original key, but again, another song I will be able to sing one day. The delivery is stunning to me, and the way her voice trills the way it does always blows me away. So much talent in one vocal, it’s amazing.
The Joke- Brandie Carlile
Brandi Carlile has been in the industry for so long and people are just starting to catch on. “The Joke” talks about the doubt and hardships that anyone faces to achieve their dreams, all the while, knowing that no matter what, you will get to the top of your mountain and be able to look back and know that many people doubted you, but you did it, no matter how hard it looks in the moment. Also not to be slept on are the incredible vocals that come with any Brandi Carlile song.
Fist City- Loretta Lynn
At a time when every woman in the country industry was supposed to be “lady-like,” Loretta Lynn was singing songs about calling it like she saw it and threatening to punch people in the face if they messed with her man. I just respect that she will always be one of the first bad ass women in country music and a trailblazer for all females after her to let their hair down and be who they are without forcing all the “proper etiquette.”
Wildflowers- Dolly Parton
“When a flower grows wild, it can always survive. Wildflowers don’t care where they grow.” As someone with a gypsy soul and spirit for adventure, this song speaks to my heart. I love to play this song when I’m traveling cross country in the summer. Over the last few years, I let what makes me happy lead my steps, which oftentimes brings uncertainty, but I know I will always be successful in loving my life no matter where I am or what I’m doing, and I feel like that’s the message of the song: it’s all about finding happiness wherever you land and not letting uncertainty stop you.
People Get Old- Lori McKenna
Every song I listen to by Lori McKenna has incredible lyrics. She is just extraordinary about writing songs from the heart that hit you in the heart, because they are about subjects that everyone can relate to while still being very specific to her story. “People Get Old” is a reminder that life goes by so fast and that every moment is precious. The time we have with our loved ones, as well as our own youth, is fleeting, and everyone is connected in that way, which is beautiful.
What’s Your Mama’s Name- Tanya Tucker
I don’t have a ton to say on this one except it is a perfect country song. I remember hearing this for the first time and then listening to it two more times just to hear the whole story, which is heartbreakingly beautiful. The music and vocals are incredible, and I love a story that connects at the end in a way you weren’t expecting.
Tin Man- Miranda Lambert
I’ve always loved Miranda, but this song hits the heart of anyone who’s gone through a heartbreak. We’ve all been there: our first real tragic heartbreak where we think to ourselves that it’s just not worth putting our heart back out there to be broken again, so we just kind of let it go cold. It’s so raw and honest and beautiful.
Better Things To Do- Terri Clark
When I was 10 years-old, I got to see Terri Clark play a sold out acoustic show, and it changed my life. I wanted to grow up to be able to play and perform like her. That night, I went home and learned “Better Things to Do,” and I haven’t stopped playing it since!
Blame it on Your Heart- Patty Loveless
When I was a little girl, I’m talking two or three, I used to run down the hallway every day in my red cowboy boots to hug my dad when he was coming in from working on the farm. The first memory I have of a song is running down the hallway with “Blame it on Your Heart” playing on the radio in the background. To this day, it is still one of my favorite songs to sing.
Crazy – Patsy Cline
When I started playing guitar, “Crazy” was the song that pushed me to actually become a guitarist. I was going to learn play it just like the record no matter what!
The House That Built Me- Miranda Lambert
“The House That Built Me” is the song that brought me to Nashville. After winning a talent contest in Kentucky, the venue posted a video of my performance, and a producer in Nashville saw it. He invited me to start performing around Music City, and the rest is history! I would never be where I am today without this song.
Coal Miner’s Daughter – Loretta Lynn
I grew up hearing my momma sing “Coal Miner’s Daughter” all the time. Fast forward to when I started pursuing a career in the music industry, this was the first song I performed with a band! This is also the song that taught me the power of songwriting and how songs can help heal. While singing songs for the residents at a nursing home in a Kentucky, I met a real life coal miner’s daughter who was an Alzheimer’s patient. She hadn’t remembered her childhood in years, but after I sang this song, she came up and, in great detail, told me all about her childhood in Eastern Kentucky. The lyrics behind this song had brought back her memories, even if only for a brief time. Music is so powerful, and “Coal Miner’s Daughter” taught me that. That will forever make this one of the most special songs to me.
*Follow Taylor, Chelsey, Allie, Sarah and Dallas on Spotify!*
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