Step into Beyoncé’s Country Kingdom, where melodies reign supreme and the soul of the South dances in harmony with modern beats.

Are genres a funny concept? In theory, genres have simple definitions that are easy to understand, but in practice they are somewhat limited.

Beyoncé's country kingdom - Vietnam.vn

Beyoncé opens a track on her new album Cowboy Carter with a narration by Linda Martell, as above.

In 1970, Linda Martell became the first black female artist to experience some success in country music, a genre traditionally associated with white people.

Soon, a conflict with her record label forced her to leave the music industry, taking on a variety of jobs, from bus driving to singing at weddings. After she appeared on Beyoncé’s album, Martell’s music streams reportedly increased by 127,430%!

More than 50 years after Linda Martell, Beyoncé became the first black woman to reach No. 1 on Billboard’s country music chart .

Renaissance Concert Film: A Film by Beyoncé

Renaissance Concert Film: A Film by Beyoncé

Cowboy Carter was released shortly after Morgan Wallen’s country album One Thing At A Time spent its 19th week atop the Billboard 200, becoming the highest-charting album since Adele’s 21 in 2011-2012.

One Thing At A Time is a country album that couldn’t be more country. The owner is white, from Tennessee. His songs are stories of working-class people with red necks from farming and born with a beer in their hands.

When compared to One Thing At A Time, Cowboy Carter is something that doesn’t fit any definition of country.

Before Cowboy Carter, eight years ago on the album Lemonade, Beyoncé had a country-influenced song called Daddy Lessons.

The story of a father’s admonitions to his daughter is told by Beyoncé in a musical space like a small pub on the remote roads of America on a fun night.

Her voice was like wine poured over a glass, like flames dancing in a fireplace.

Cowboy Carter is a real tour de force in country music heritage. Beyoncé rides an American flag upside down on a white horse on the album cover, and the music behind it isn’t Morgan Wallen-style country.

 

Beyoncé

Beyoncé’s show not only featured legends like Willie Nelson – a voice carved from the American countryside – or Dolly Parton – one of the biggest names country music has ever produced.

The party extended to the young, from Miley Cyrus, a girl from Tennessee, and the lesser-known. And perhaps only Beyoncé has the ability to invite the big boys like Stevie Wonder or Paul McCartney to play for her.

There are countless moments of Beyoncé’s brilliance on Cowboy Carter, an album that Stevie Wonder also foresaw its classic status.

It’s the moment when Beyoncé sings an 18th-century operatic falsetto about loneliness in the track Daughter about feelings of hatred and remorse.

It’s the moment when she brings her honeyed voice to a fun track about the nightlife in the American West in Texas Hold’Em.

It was the moment she turned Jolene, Dolly Parton’s classic song, from a wife’s plea to her husband’s lover into an arrogant warning, threat, and intimidation.

As a Texan, country and western music have always been Beyoncé’s calling card. But at the height of her powers, she’s finally made an album that puts the genre front and center.

She had to fight to do so, against the stereotype that she was “not country enough,” as she confided in American Requiem.

Now there’s no stopping Beyoncé. She remixed The Beatles’ Blackbird, a song McCartney wrote inspired by the black liberation movement, with the lines: “Blackbird sings in the dead of night, learns to fly on broken wings, all your life you’ve waited for this moment to soar.”

Beyoncé has probably waited her whole life for this moment.

 

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