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Where Have All the Female Country Soloists Gone?

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In early 2010, Reba McEntire hit #1 with “Consider Me Gone.” In 2011, Sara Evans topped the charts with “A Little Bit Stronger.” But, within the last 6 years, if you’re looking for consistent success on the country charts from female soloists, you really only have three to choose from:

Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, and Miranda Lambert.

Where have all the women gone?

I bring this up because of a recent ad in a trade magazine that delivers the news that Jana Kramer has the highest charting solo debut by a female since Taylor did the trick in 2006. That’s SIX YEARS, people!

This phenomenon–for lack of a better word–runs in sharp contrast to the 1990s. That was a very good decade for female country stars.

According to Billboard Magazine, Patty Loveless, Lorrie Morgan, Reba McEntire, Holly Dunn, K.T. Oslin, Trisha Yearwood, Wynonna, Faith Hill, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Pam Tillis, Shania Twain, Martina McBride, Mindy McCready, Deana Carter, LeAnn Rimes, Jo Dee Messina, Terri Clark, Sara Evans, and Chely Wright ALL topped the charts between January 1, 1990 and December 31, 1999. That’s a whopping NINETEEN female soloists with #1 songs.

And the first eleven I mentioned all did it in the first six years of the 90s.

And we’ve only managed to see FIVE different women hit number one in the same period leading up to now? I’m kind of at a loss.

You could say those other women ran their courses just like everyone else does. But then when you start a discussion about the lack of female stars TODAY, you might hear that there aren’t enough out there that are interesting, that they’re not as diverse as they were in the 90s.

So why did all those 90s women necessarily have to go away? It’s an argument that circles back in on itself.

I don’t have the answer. Do you?

I do know this. Those women in the 90s WERE diverse. They put out some terrific music. They filled arenas and theatres. And then they went away.

What happened? And what’s happening now?

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