Carolyn Kruse

Carolyn Kruse

Carolyn Kruse

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - FEBRUARY 29: Lainey Wilson speaks during "The Artist Interview" panel on day two of CRS 2024 at Omni Nashville Hotel on (Photo by Danielle Del Valle/Getty Images)

March 8 is International Women’s Day. It’s a day to honor women’s achievements and also, as their website states, “Raise awareness about discrimination. Take action to drive gender parity. IWD belongs to everyone, everywhere. Inclusion means all IWD action is valid.” Amen. But here, we will take a different spin on the holiday. Celebrate International Women’s Day with 6 favorite female country artists.

It’s my personal list of just a few favorites. Obviously, I have many I would like to honor from past, present and future. Since there is only so much time in a day, these 6 favorite female country artists will serve to represent a very large category.

These are women who break barriers, make a difference, influence and inspire. They range from 1990’s stars to today. In a business bustling with boys, these girls are the ones who dare to throw the gavel at glass ceilings. They are brave warrior women who deserve to be celebrated.

When I first started in country radio women ruled the format. There was Jo Dee Messina, Trisha Yearwood, Sara Evans, Faith Hill, Patty Loveless and Martina McBride, to name a few. Today, there are far fewer, but the new pack to staying strong to keep the door open.  These 6 favorite female country artists are strong, sassy and seriously talented singer/songwriters. Many of them are included in our list of the top 20 of all-time women in country.

See if a few of your favorites made my list. I have included one from each decade, starting with the 90s and going through today.  You’ll find these fabulous female musicians listed in alphabetical order. So, which one is your favorite. And if I make another list soon, please let me know who I should include. Thank you for taking the time to celebrate International Women’s Day with these 6 favorite female country artists.

  • 1.Kelsea Ballerini

    Kelsea Ballerina was just 21 years old when she found success in the country music business, scoring her first. “Love Me Like You Mean It” went to #1 in 2014, and since then there’s been much growth and self-discovery for the 2024 Country Album of the Year Grammy Award nominee. Now 30 years old Kelsea’s latest album, Rolling Up the Welcome Mat perfectly displays her growth, complete with bumps, bruises and triumphs. She’s an artist on the verge of crashing earth’s atmosphere into superstardom. Her writing has never been better and she gets better with every single released.

  • 2. Miranda Lambert

    Once a sovereign of sass, Miranda Lambert has dialed it back a bit in recent years, but remains as strong as ever. The “Kerosene” queen recently took a brave step by leaving her record label of 20 years, on her own. She did it in order to launch her own label, Big Loud Texas, which is an imprint of Big Loud Records, focusing on Texas based artists. The 3 time Grammy Award winning superstar is currently wrapping up her Las Vegas residency, while enjoying a normal life with husband Brendan, in the suburbs. Miranda has earned more CMA Awards than any other female artist.

  • 3. Patty Loveless

    Patty Loveless always had the uncanny ability to bare her soul in song. In doing so, she has created one of the most soulful voices in country music. Make no mistake, Loveless’ sound is pure country at it’s core, bordering on bluegrass but steeped in soulfulness. You can almost hear an ache in her vocals, when called for. And it all just seems to be so natural for one of the biggest stars of the 1990s and early 2000s. Patty retired from touring in 2010 but was recently inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, where she now has an exhibit. Mountain soul is where her heart lies, but she helped to lead country music radio into enormous popularity, scoring 20 top 10 hits, including 3 #1s.

  • 4. Meghan Moroney

    Rising star Megan Moroney was a baby when Patty Loveless had already scored her 3rd #1 hit. But they both share a talent for bringing emotion into songs through their unique vocals. Moroney’s signature rasp perfectly paints her pain, but also works well in showing strength and conviction. She burst onto the scene in 2022, after releasing her debut single, “Tennessee Orange.” The Georgia native received plenty of social media attention shortly after the song’s release for wearing a Tennessee Volunteers shirt that reportedly belonged to Morgan Wallen. The rumors swirled and Moroney never responded. Megan’s songwriting is refreshingly sincere and she’s only just begun. She currently has 3 other single releases, the top 25 “I’m Not Pretty,” a collaboration with Old Dominion, “Can’t Break Up Now,” and the brand new “No Caller ID.” Her debut album, Lucky went top 10.

  • 5. Shania Twain

    Shania Twain may be one of the most influential women in the history of country music. So much so, Barbie just created a Shania doll in her honor. Think about it. She was an artist who wrote nearly all of her own songs. She helped to earn country music massive crossover fans by combining traditional country sensibilities with a rock edge and pop presentation. She took performance to a new level, which previously was rarely seen, using ever bit of the stage and technology available. Shania was an enormous force, earning numbers previously only held by men. Her imprint is still being felt by today’s young women from Kelsea Ballerini to Taylor Swift. The worldwide music mogul has sold more than 85 million albums and is the top selling female artist is country music history. Boom. Mic drop.

  • 6. Lainey Wilson

    What is it about Lainey Wilson that drew legions fans immediately into her web. Fellow artists, critics and fans agree that Lainey is the real deal. She just exudes honesty, lightness and love. And not just in her music. Watch or listen to any interview with the reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year. If you ‘ve ever seen her performing live, you KNOW she’s earned this title.  She hadn’t even had a big headlining tour when she picked up the most prestigious award in the industry. Her music is real, her accent is real and she is really talented. She’s created an image for herself in style and life that her mother can be proud of. And, as women, that means the most. This girl worked her butt off to get here, living in a camper outside a Nashville recording studio. The owner, a friend of the family,   paid for Wilson’s water and electricity to help make ends meet. Those were rough years, but as Wilson told Louisiana daily newspaper, The Advocate: “It taught me that this thing was not going to be easy. It taught me perseverance.”  Here we are 4 hit songs and a whole bunch of awards later, and Lainey is country’s current queen.

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