Music

Country music has a gender problem. Women only make up 16% of country artists, and even fewer are songwriters.

When women do break into the mainstream — the likes of Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, and Kacey Musgraves — they're often young. The average age of the genre's top female artists is 29 years old.

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

This essay has been excerpted from the forthcoming book Liner Notes For The Revolution: Black Feminist Sound Cultures by Daphne A. Brooks, which will be published by Harvard UP in 2020.

Director Ken Burns has told the story of America through the lens of the U.S. Civil War, baseball, jazz and the war in Vietnam. Now, he's telling it again through the soundtrack and the struggle of country music.

Bruce Hornsby has an appetite for the unusual that may surprise those who know him best for his 1986 smash hit "The Way It Is." His latest album, Absolute Zero, features a "bitonal pop song" where Hornsby plays in different keys with each hand.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Linda Ronstadt is the subject of a new documentary that opened today called "Linda Ronstadt: The Sound Of My Voice." We're going to listen back to the interview I recorded with her in 2013, a month after she revealed that she had Parkinson's disease and could no longer sing. The disease had ended her singing career years before it was diagnosed.

The singer and songwriter Eddie Money, whose singles like "Take Me Home Tonight," "Baby Hold On" and "Two Tickets to Paradise" were an archetype for 1970s and 1980s rock radio, died Friday morning in Los Angeles at age 70.

Less than a month ago, Money announced that he had stage IV esophageal cancer, which had metastasized to his liver, lymph nodes and stomach.

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Ken Burns 'Country Music' documentary premieres on PBS stations this Sunday at 7pm. And this summer, we've been asking listeners to tell us about a country song that made a big impact on their life.

We received hundred of responses, detailing childhood memories, first kisses, songs that made them think, and how hearing the music of folks like Garth Brooks and Willie Nelson helped them do an about-turn on country music.

The Lumineers have taken their latest album, III, as an opportunity to shine a light on a topic that's close to many of the members' lives — addiction. III tells a story of addiction in three acts. As the album runs from one song to the next, it's a tale of one family facing the same problem. "It's the family secret and it's a taboo," Wes Schultz, the band's lead vocalist, says.

Drummer Jeremiah Fraites says addiction happens in cycles and should be considered that way.

Charli XCX makes wildly warped, genre-bending songs that are artful and adventurous but can still top the charts. On the English singer's latest album, Charli, she collaborates with Troye Sivan, Lizzo, Haim and more for a sound that moves pop firmly into the future.

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