The Highwomen Are Finally Here! Thoughts On ‘Redesigning Women’

Last Friday we finally heard the first new music from the country music dream team The Highwomen. This project has been much talked about, with endless teases in interviews and hype on social media to the point where I began to worry the weight of expectations was going to crush the whole thing before it even began. I’m pleased to report that so far, so damn good. Continue reading “The Highwomen Are Finally Here! Thoughts On ‘Redesigning Women’”

‘This is Real. This is Me.’ Kacey Musgraves on her career and new exhibition ‘All of the Colors’

Welcome to my TED talk on how awkward I am,’ said Kacey Musgraves in typically self-deprecating style at the beginning of her interview for the new exhibition honouring her career at the Country Music Hall of Fame. All of the Colors, lives up to its name with an array of stunning artefacts and costumes from across her life and career.

Continue reading “‘This is Real. This is Me.’ Kacey Musgraves on her career and new exhibition ‘All of the Colors’”

The Differences Between Music Journalists & Bloggers and Why We All Should Work Together Anyway

I was reading a great interview with Marissa Moss the other day which outlined some thoughts she had on the difference between journalism and music blogging. This got me thinking about some of the wider issues that I have observed since starting my own blog.

When I first started Highway Queens I had dreams of creating a professional level magazine and writing to the same standards as a paid journalist. Soon I realised that not only was this an impossible task for one person, it wasn’t what blogging was for at all. Here’s my thoughts on what those differences are and why we all need to work together anyway. Continue reading “The Differences Between Music Journalists & Bloggers and Why We All Should Work Together Anyway”

Fifty Women in Music Who Deserve Their Own Biopics

After seeing the Elton John biopic Rocketman last week, I began thinking about all the women in music who should have their story told on the silver screen. Rocketman was an interesting film but I was disappointed by the fact that they mentioned Mama Cass, going so far as to recreate her home for a party scene and yet the woman herself did not appear on screen – not even for a fleeting cameo (Kiki Dee didn’t fare much better either but at least she had a line). Like many women in music history Cass appeared sidelined in favour of the bigger story of the man. Continue reading “Fifty Women in Music Who Deserve Their Own Biopics”

Bobbie Gentry: Fashion Icon

Growing up in the Mississippi Delta gave Bobbie Gentry a deeply rooted sense of place which she channelled into her lyrics and music. What perhaps is less documented is her time as a young model in California. Work like this may be dismissed by some as inconsequential or superficial even but for Bobbie this must have given her some insight into how to use her own image for maximum effect. In her songwriting Gentry created characters and painted pictures of Southern life. She extended this attention to detail by designing many of the clothes she wore for her album covers and live shows. Gentry’s personal beauty and style helped to sell her music, long before social media and branding ever was even thought of. Continue reading “Bobbie Gentry: Fashion Icon”

Dolly Parton’s Discography – Great Balls of Fire (1979)

Released in 1979 Great Balls of Fire is right in the middle of Dolly’s mainstream pop phase. She aims for the charts but ironically it is one of the few albums from this era without any real classic career-defining songs. It’s a continuation of her previous run of big budget albums but with ever diminishing returns you feel she’s stretching this seventies pop style to its limits. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography – Great Balls of Fire (1979)”

Dolly Parton’s Discography – Heartbreaker (1978)

After the platinum crossover smash success of ‘Here You Come Again’, Dolly decided to stick closely to that pop formula for her follow up album ‘Heartbreaker’, released July 1978. She was now being managed by Sandy Gallin, introduced to her by Mac Davis, and he again teamed her up with pop producers Charles Koppleman and Gary Klein. Dolly also received a production credit, showing how she was taking back control of her own career in the wake of her split with Porter. Another fact worth noting is that 1978 was the first year since 1967 where Dolly only released one album. The insane songwriting productivity and release schedule of the Porter Wagoner years was well and truly over. In the end Dolly didn’t need more than one album since Heartbreaker dominated the country charts, staying at number one for nine consecutive weeks. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography – Heartbreaker (1978)”

On Album Covers, Judgement and Objectification

Jenny Lewis’s new album has a striking cover picture of her wearing a cut out dress. The image was a glamorous twin of her cover for previous album ‘The Voyager’. On that album she had worn a rainbow suit inspired by Gram Parsons and the headless shot focused all our attention on that outfit. The ‘On The Line’ cover is almost an identical shot but this time Jenny is in a satin jumpsuit, her hair styled and her cleavage exposed. Those in the know connected the images together and understood that the new album cover was a metaphor for Jenny freeing herself from the past, glamming up in response to all the dark times she had gone through. Later she acknowledged the image was also in honour of her late mother, a Vegas lounge singer who wore similar stage outfits designed by Bob Mackie and who had a mole in the exact same spot on her chest. Continue reading “On Album Covers, Judgement and Objectification”

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