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 naiveté 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 this updated playlist (which is perfect for shuffling) there are now 180 songs from 2020 performed 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.
The list now includes songs from:
Lucinda Williams, Mickey Guyton, Elizabeth Cook, Caitlin Canty, Secret Sisters, Sunny Sweeney, Lilly Hiatt, Waxahatchee, Whitney Rose, Kelsey Waldon, Karen Jonas, Becky Warren, India Ramey, Bonnie Whitmore, Adia Victoria, The Lone Bellow, Sarah Jarosz, Ana Cristina Cash, Front Country, Esther Rose, Brit Taylor, Emily Zuzik, Brandy Clark, Brandy Carlile, Nicole Atkins, The Chicks, Nikki and the Phantom Callers, Kelsey Frey, Liz Longley, Sunny Ozell, Larkin Poe, Lori McKenna, Aoife O’ Donovan, Ashley Ray, Yola, The Highwomen, Ashley McBryde, Kathleen Edwards, Kyshona Armstrong, Tawny Ellis, Katie Pruitt, Jess Jocoy, Victoria Bailey, Tessy Lou Williams, Juliet McConkey, Gina Sicilia, Emma Swift, Valerie June, Diane and The Gentlemen, Shannon LaBrie, Margo Price, Jaime Wyatt, Emily Duff, Reyna Roberts, The Danberrys, Stephanie Lambring, S.G. Goodman, Heather Anne Lomax, Michaela Anne, Sylvia Rose Novak, The Northern Belle, Jessi Colter, Eliza Gilkyson, Malin Pettersen, Shemekia Copeland, Rhiannon Giddens, Mary Gauthier, Teni Rane, Robyn Ottolini, Emily King, Phoebe Bridgers, Lauren Richmond, The Jensen Sisters, Mona Lisa Tribe, Ali Handal, Amelia Presley, Stefanie Joyce, Liz Charette, Raye Zaragoza, Skylar Gregg, Samantha Crain, Susan Pepper, Wynonna Judd, Xanthe Alexis, Faith Schueler, Cam, Hailey Whitters, Sacha, Brittney Spencer, Stephanie Nash, Heidi Newfield, Secret Emchy Society, Van Darien, Casey Neal, Robynn Shayne, Sarah Peacock, Tara Dente, Kree Harrison, Emily Barker, Diana DeMuth, Lera Lynn, Aubrie Sellers, Rachel Brooke, Kathryn Legendre, Ruthie Collins, Kalie Shorr, Sophia Scott, Whitney McClain, Nikki O’Neill, Sierra Hull, Molly Tuttle, Liz Cooper, Jess Williamson, Beccca Mancari, Karen Elson, Emily Scott Robinson, Sarah Faith, Route 358, Ashlie Amber, Tatiana DeMaria, Ariella, Beth Snapp, Devon, Jade Bird, Wildwood Kin, Lisa Mills, The Mammals, Kate Mills, Alice Wallace, Folk Uke, Puss N Boots, Della Mae, Tif Ginn, Her Silo, Pi Jacobs, Sweet Lizzy Project, Eliza Meyer, Josie Bello, Whitney Shay, Tami Neilson, Nora Jean Wallace, Annette Wasilik, Joan Osborne, Mustangs Of The West, Evelyn Rubio, Crystal Shawanda, Grace Pettis, Jayne Denham, Melinda Schneider, Mikayla Burrows, Kristy Cox, Browyn Keith – Hynes, Dale Ann Bradley, Morgan Wade, Miko Marks, Fretland, Deau Eyes, Meg Toohey, Sarah Morris, Gretchen Peters, Abby Lindsey, RaeLynn, Tenille Townes, Tori Martin, Indigo Girls, Anna Ash, Elles Bailey, Jenny Reynolds, Katie Pruitt, Iris DeMent, Bettye LaVette and The Staves.