The He-Man Woman-Hater’s
Club met in Nashville
this week to dole out the Country Music Association Awards. Accordingly,
all of the awards, save for “Female Vocalist of the Year,” went to
OK, I’m exaggerating a little.
But not that much. Four awards went
to three women,
one of whom was part of a male-female duo. Carrie Underwood was named Female Vocalist of the
Year, and her single, “Before He Cheats,” won Single of the Year.
The New Horizon award
went to 17-year-old Taylor Swift, who tearfully exclaimed, "This
is definitely the highlight of my senior year [in high school]."
And a Kristen Hall-less Sugarland took home Vocal
Duo of the Year.
Of course, if Kristen Hall
had not left the band in 2006, Sugarland would not have been eligible
for Vocal Duo of the Year. And there’s no Vocal Trio of the Year award.
But, still, if only a few women could win, it would have been a treat
for me if one of them had been a lesbian.
I listen to a fair amount of
country music. (Between the showtunes and the country music, my girlfriend
exercised a great deal of forbearance when we began dating.) I listen
to plenty of male country artists — even ones whose politics
I find abhorrent.
But my favorites are the women — Dolly, Reba, the Dixie Chicks. (And I could gaze at Terri Clark
— in addition to listening to her — for hours.)
However, it seems I’m not the
only person dismayed by the lack of women nominated. In a recent poll, 74 percent of respondents thought a woman should have been nominated
for the top Entertainer of the Year award. Amazingly, the Dixie
Chicks were the last female band or performer to be nominated for Entertainer
of the Year. And that was back in 2001.
The main explanation given
for the lack of women nominees is that a lot of weight is given to ticket
sales, and male performers tour more than women do. (It seems that Entertainer
of the Year, Kenny Chesney, tours almost constantly.) But that’s
not entirely convincing because Faith Hill
had an incredibly successful tour with husband Tim McGraw, yet
received no nomination.
There’s another theory out there.
"The country music audience used
to be split 51 to 49 female to male, and now it’s skewing about 57 percent
female. There’s a theory that women really like to see male artists."
Although I’m loath to admit it that
women are the problem, this may have some credence. I’ve been noticing
lately how different the most popular male country artists (e.g., Keith
Urban, Rascal Flatts, Vince Gill, Kenny Chesney) are from the male country
artists of my youth (Willie, Waylon and the rest of the Outlaws). The
new breed seem like grown up boy-band members: all high voices and pretty
faces. I’ve been listening to Reba’s Duets album lately and have
noticed that there’s nary a deep voice among the men with whom she sings.
(She does, however, sing a duet with Carole King! And that makes
me very happy.) The bottom line is that I’d be a little surprised if
it were the men who were making some of these artists stars.
Any other country music fans out there?