It's a sad truth that there just aren’t as many women in country music as there are men. Whether you want to chalk it up to sexism (Exhibit A: tomatogate) or the reality of the music business or both, it has long been the case. In Dallas, that seems to be particularly true. Outside of a few incredible examples, like the recently-relocated-to-Nashville Amber Farris of Somebody’s Darling, the twangy women in this city just don’t seem to get much of the attention that they deserve.
And that’s unfortunate. Dallas is crawling with women who are equally talented as vocalists as they are musicians. Whatever the reasons, these five female artists have managed to fly under the radar for far too long. If you’re interested in supporting more women in music, or just better country music in general, check out these incredibly talented artists.
Even though she’s widely considered to be one of the most talented women in Texas country music, Madison King has yet to become the breakout star she so deserves to be. King’s rich, warbly timbre and deeply personal songwriting are certainly well-honed enough to place her among the best country artists in the city, female or otherwise. A recent collaboration with the Old 97’s Rhett Miller, “Feel Like Fallin’ In Love,” may very well be her biggest break to date. If it is, look forward to seeing Madison King on much, much larger stages than Adair’s.
Often seen with folk hero Guthrie Kennard, Rachel Stacy has a stage presence that is at once commanding and understated. When she’s perched up on a bar stool at Henderson Avenue Country Club or any of the other local honky tonks you can usually find her in, paying attention to anything else going on in the room is impossible. Recently, Stacy toured with Big & Rich, which will hopefully lead to more touring gigs with even more established country acts. Stacy would fit in perfectly with Sunny Sweeney, Bri Bagwell or even Miranda Lambert’s badass girl sound.
If you frequent many of the city’s bars, you’ve probably heard Ronda Ray up on stage. A regular at Adair’s and World of Beer in Fort Worth, Ray is one of those artists you have to see live to fully understand her vocal prowess. Even when she’s playing covers, Ray has a unique ability to make a song sound very much her own. She’s in the studio working on an upcoming EP with Rachel Stacy, which means that we can soon look forward to an entirely new slate of good tunes from this immensely talented artist.
There’s nothing wrong with pop-country, especially when it’s done well. Abbi Walker, frequently seen at Concrete Cowboy and The Rustic, is Texas’ best example of this type of country. This year, her single “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang” peaked in the top 20 on the Texas Country Music Charts, and a forthcoming record titled Feisty has even bigger potential for radio success. Still, even though Walker represents a sound that is closer to Nashville than most other Texas artists, she isn’t just a fly-by-night pop-country star. She’s a bona fide talent.
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A relative newcomer to the local music scene, Ashley Bradberry is as under-the-radar as one can imagine. She’s played plenty of shows in Dallas-Fort Worth and beyond and has plenty of time to establish herself as one of the best country vocalists from Dallas. Bradberry’s sound infuses country, Americana, rock and roots — a recipe that has proven to be remarkably successful for male artists such as Sturgill Simpson. No details have been released yet on Bradberry’s first full-length release, but you can bet that you’re going to have to add it to the collection once it’s out.