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The Highwomen, Miranda Lambert and the Women Invigorating Country Music

The Tomatogate scandal of 2015 brought a persistent tension in Nashville to the surface: the systematic exclusion of female performers from country radio. It was just one part of a larger structural crisis in Nashville in which female singers (and songwriters and producers) are consistently marginalized — a particularly egregious scenario given that the male performers that populate country music are often dully similar.

The Highwomen — a supergroup made up of Brandi Carlile, Amanda Shires, Natalie Hemby and Maren Morris — formed in response to that dire circumstance; the group recently released its self-titled debut album. Miranda Lambert, one of the genre’s biggest female stars, has continued to navigate Nashville with grace on the songs from her forthcoming seventh album, “Wildcard.”

On this week’s Popcast, a conversation about how slow Nashville has been to address its gender inequity, and a discussion of promising female performers — including Kalie Shorr, Tenille Townes and Maddie & Tae — who deserve better than the industry has offered them.

On the Popcast:

  • Jada Watson, an adjunct professor at the University of Ottawa and the principal investigator of the Song Data project

  • Natalie Weiner, a writer who contributes to Billboard, The New York Times and others

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