Country Wonder Women
Some may say it's a "man's world," but in country music there are ladies proving otherwise. In fact, the last two years have been especially productive for women like Kacey Musgraves, Ashley Monroe and the Pistol Annies. And there's no denying Blake Shelton's protégés from The Voice who have made a superb first impression: Cassadee Pope's Frame by Frame debuted at No. 1 on the country charts, while Danielle Bradbery's placed in the Top 5. Meanwhile, Brandy Clark's debut, 12 Stories, appeared in just about every critic's top albums list in 2013.
While the fellas have been offering an endless stream of over-amplified, rap-tinged songs about drinking (on a plane, in a truck, at the lake), girls in bikini tops (on a plane, in a truck, at the lake) or cruising (on a plane, in a truck, on the backroads by the lake), the ladies have been coming up with sharp, thoughtful, often irreverent songs that have set conservative country radio on its ear. While the bros were singing about their hos, the ladies were offering up gritty, oftentimes hilarious tales about popping pills, smoking pot, one-night stands, and the two-faced nature of a small town. With all this talent, it's a shame that many country radio programmers still consider women to be token additions to their station's playlists. Hit play, and enjoy some of country music's best -- and newest -- artists.