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CMA AWARDS TO CELEBRATE FEMALE ARTISTS

Change is inevitable. After a dozen years hosting the CMA Awards, Carrie Underwood probably needed something a little different to keep viewers interested. But at a time when Country radio is still not buying into women’s music, leave it to Country Music Association head and Rainmaker Sarah Trahern, producer Robert Deaton and TV-committee alpha males Joe Galante and Clarence Spalding of Maverick Management to bring the big dogs—er, babes—for the 11/13 broadcast on ABC.

As the final balloting underway to determine nominees goes down, Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire have been announced as co-hosts. That is some serious firepower. Both newcomers to the slot have previously hosted (Parton in 1988, McEntire 1990-1992, and the latter returned to the ACM Awards in Vegas this spring), and both have won in the prestigious Entertainer of the Year category.

For hardware, they have a total of 22 wins and 124 nominations between them. But even more importantly, they span seven decades of CMA Awards and four decades of hosting, creating not just the highest possible TVQ (Dolly! Reba! Carrie!), but the most meaningful historic relevance. Parton won her first CMA in 1968 with Porter Wagoner for Group of the Year, and she hasn’t slowed down; McEntire picked up her first Female Vocalist of the Year trophy in 1984.

What all three of these women—and so many of the “girl singers” who are struggling to find a place on Country radio—have in common is a strong sense of self-empowerment, real-life investment and the willingness to stand on all sides of the romantic, professional and family dynamics. Whether Maren Morris’ #1 “GIRL,” Miranda Lambert’s philosophical country quirk “It All Comes Out in the Wash,” Kacey Musgraves’ bright-eyed embrace/acceptance “Rainbow,” Ashley McBryde’s blue-collar “Girl Goin’ Nowhere,” the hard-country swagger of Margo Price‘s “All American Made” or even Sheryl Crow’s whirling “Wouldn’t Take Much” with Morris and Stevie Nicks, as well as Underwood’s hard-but-not-breaking “Cry Pretty,” Parton’s collaborative Dumplin’ soundtrack or McEntire’s spunky empowerment, this is just the tip of a massive iceberg.

As Trahern enthuses, “It’s an incredible honor to welcome Carrie, Reba and Dolly to the CMA Awards stage this year. In addition to awarding the year’s best and brightest in the genre, the 53rd Annual CMA Awards will celebrate the legacy of women within country music, and we couldn’t think of a more dynamic group of women to host the show.”

Loretta. Tammy. Patsy. Emmylou. Patty. Patsy. Martina. LeAnn. Wynonna & Naomi. KT. kd. Janie. Jeannie. Connie. Tanya. Barbara. Rosanne. Carlene. Shania. Chapin. Maybelle. Suzy. Brenda. Faith. Pam. We’re looking at you.

 

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