Like every other music lover, I love making playlists. While compiling my favorite song playlist for the chaotic year that was 2020, I became awestruck as I was gloriously reminded of how many of my favorite songs of this past year were written by and/or performed by women. Amongst all that was going on, 2020 was an especially strong year, artistically and musically speaking, for the women of Americana music.
Even though I think there is no denying this fact, I make the above statement in full realization that a number of the female artists on my playlist either didn’t get or won’t get the recognition and accolades they so richly deserve for their individual performances. While inroads have undoubtedly been made when compared to the past, discrimination and gender bias still sadly exist in the music industry as it does in many other sectors of our society. To say it doesn’t is a statement of either naivete or ignorance.
For my part, having been raised by a single mother after my parents went through an acrimonious divorce, I have always had special affinities in my heart and mind for the struggles and circumstances that women face on a daily basis and for the female voices that vocalize those experiences. I grew up listening to the songs of Patsy Cline, Tammy Wynette, Connie Smith, Loretta Lynn, Lynn Anderson, and Dolly Parton and they left an indelible mark on my musical sensibilities. I hear their influence and of countless other female artists of the past in all of the songs in the playlist.
In the playlist, there are 120 songs from 2020 sung by scores of female artists either by themselves or as the lead vocalist for their bands or groups. Listening to it you will hear songs of love, lust, heartbreak, joy, pain, grief, determination, and resilience to name just a few things. It is my humble attempt to honor both the modern female experience and the greatness of the women of Americana both past and present. All feedback and suggestions for additions to the list are welcome.