Rebelle Road tackles issue of women in country, Americana

Image: Snip from home page, rebelleroad.com

Female artists were very critical of a major radio consultant’s decision in 2015 to discourage stations from playing country music by women. In 2018 Recording Academy CEO Neil Portnow told women to “step up”, implying I suppose that they haven’t.

Now a California startup is challenging the status quo. Rebelle Road will tackle the issue of women in country and Americana. 

Photo of the outlaw Belle Starr from city of Carthage, Missouri
Photo of the outlaw Belle Starr from city of Carthage, Missouri

Will this help aspiring female musicians?

The verdict is out on that right now.

A news release described the new endeavor:

“Inspired by women across many industries, musicians Adrienne Isom (NOCONA), KP Hawthorn (California Country Records/CALICO the band) and event producer Karen Rappaport McHugh (Muddy Girl Productions) have announced the formation of a new company, REBELLE ROAD ( http://www.rebelleroad.com ) to fiercely champion Americana, Roots and Country music from a female vantage point. They will produce a handful of events in California before the official launch during SXSW, on Wednesday, March 14 at Ramada South Austin with a full day of showcase performances.”

One focus will be on country from the “California community.”

Despite the gender focus, the group won’t exclude male artists.

The Rebelle Road website said the new group is named for “the legendary maverick outlaw Belle Starr.

Saving Country Music featured some great photos of performers at the SXSW event, weighing in on Rebelle Road’s potential:

“For a first-year SXSW event from a burgeoning organization, the Rebelle Road showcase was very well done, was well-curated with talent, and foretold of a strong organization open-minded to fresh ideas of how to solve systemic problems facing women in country.”

Rebelle Road provides a contact form on the group’s website, for musicians to learn more and find out more about performing at events. On that same site, you can listen to the music performed at SXSW. There’s a playlist at Spotify.  I’d recommend doing that ahead of querying if you’re a performer. Bear in mind this isn’t a purist country effort—Americana and roots also comprise the aesthetic.

(Kay B. Day/March 20, 2018)

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