Women in Country Music
Country music, for the most part, was mainly dominated by male artist for the first thirty years. Country music was viewed as being more masculine and to much of a manly western theme for women to sing. In 1935 though, a woman from Arkansas changed those views. A singer and fiddler named Patsy Montana broke into the country music scene with a song named, I Want to be a Cowboys Sweetheart . This record became the first female million record sale. Her yoedling and western themes became well know across the country music world. Although Patsy Montana never became a huge star as the such of many male artist at the time, she became a role model for the women of country music that was to come.
The Carter Family, who were making their mark in country music in the early 1940 s, also featured the voice of a female. A.C., his sister-in-law Maybelle, and his wife Sara did most of the singing for this group. A church style group, whose theme was God, Mom and Home , exemplifies their certain christian style of music. Their combination of autoharp, guitar, and the vocals of Sara Carter most definately shows their style of that of the Appalachian Mountains country music. Their image of family and stability are now known as twangy country music styles. The Carter Family held a great impact on the country music scene in the 1940 s.
Around 1952, women finally hit it big when Kitty Wells recorded It Wasn t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels . This song became country musics first number one Billboard hit. This song was an answer to the Hank Thompson hit, The Wild Side of Life , which was recorded a year earlier. Kitty was not typical of the women singers of this time, she dressed and acted like she wanted to, like a cowgirl. Her lacy outfits and cowboy hat were well known all around the country music scene. This rather quiet natured girl sang in a maner different than that she was portrayed by others.Wells was known and respected through the fifties and continued through the early sixties.
The early 1960 s produced arguably one of the most powerful voices in the history of women in country music. Patsy Cline s voice is probably the most recognized voice in country music history. Her cry-like breaks, versatile vibrato, wide pitch range and volume show why her voice is so recognizable. She was the first to mix the western theme with more of a pop-oriented style of singing to develop her own rendition of songs. She first appeared on national television in 1953 and in 1960 recorded I Fall to Pieces at the Grand Ole Opry. Her style was not just limited to just the country scene as she was also recognized greatly in the pop music industry. Her popularity was also not just limited to the 1960 s. After her tragic death in 1963, her songs and style remainded very well recognized. She was definately a role model for many singers to come. Even today, singers like LeAnn Rimes realize her style and still use it this day and age.