CMA Awards: Pondering the future of country music on the red carpet

The conversation rarely gets deep on the red carpet — and the rug-chatter outside Wednesday night’s 47th CMA Awards in downtown Nashville was no exception. Lots of happiness to be here. Lots of dreams coming true.
But as the stars strolled past, we did our best to ask about the state of the art. Here are the four most interesting responses we heard.

Dave Haywood, Hillary Scott and Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
Dave Haywood, Hillary Scott and Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum

Does country music have a gender gap?

“It’s interesting. Having artists like Kacey Musgraves coming up – I think she’s gonna be a new champion for the genre. You got Miranda [Lambert] and Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift doing so well. But there needs to be more women represented in country, for sure. You can’t deny it.”

Charlie Worsham

What does the future of country music look like to you?

“I trust that a lot of us that are coming up through the ranks are going to handle it with care and take it to a new, good place. It’s always been moving. Back in the day when Bill Monroe was the man, and when Hank Williams came along, it was like, ‘Whoa! Let’s stop this! It’s too rowdy!’ There’s always been a struggle between tradition and blazing a new trail. That hasn’t changed at all. It’s just that the spectrum is wider than it’s ever been.”

Angaleena Presley of Pistol Annies

Why aren’t there more women on country radio?

“I have no idea. I’m just hopeful that it will change and radio will embrace women. Because we sure deserve it. There are more women putting out music, especially singer-songwriters who really have something to say. I love country radio. Maybe at some point they’re gonna love us back.”

Thomas Rhett

What makes this moment unique in country music?

“There aren’t as many boundaries. I think everybody is just doing what they love and what makes them feel good. So country is just broadening and broadening its horizons. But it’s still about the story – good old country people, talking about good old country things. It’s a great time to be in it.”


Chris Richards has been the Post's pop music critic since 2009. He's recently written about the joys of heavy metal drumming, the perils of "poptimism" and six months in the life of D.C. rapper Shy Glizzy.
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