For generations, the women in country music songs have been cheated and mistreated or just ignored until closing time at the bar.
Some have had revenge. Some have shrugged it off because, in Tammy Wynette’s words, “after all, he’s just a man.”
But now they (sometimes) have their day. Just announced is this year’s plan for the Country Music Association awards, Nov. 13: Carrie Underwood (shown here) will host, Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton will be special guests and the night will celebrate the women of country music.
Put those three together and you have 124 CMA nominaions and 22 wins, half those wins being for female vocalist of the year.
You have 14 nominations for entertainer of the year, but only two wins – Parton in 1978, McEntire in ’86. In the 32 years since then, the only female winners have been Taylor Swift (twice), Shania Twain and the Dixie Chicks. That category, like large chunks of life, remains male-dominated.
Still, it’s a splendid TV time for country music in general and country women in particular, including:
— Ken Burns’ “Country Music” (starting Sept. 15 on PBS) is one of the best TV shows I’ve seen, an epic documentary that’s rich in detail, humanity and great music. Parton and Roseanne Case are among its best commentators.
— As a warm-up, there’s a country concert (8-10 p.m. Sept. 8, PBS). Cash will perform, along with Kathy Mattea, Holly Williams and the terrific Rhianon Giddens. Also, lots of guys – Vince Gill, Dierks Bentley, Marty Stuart (the best of the documentary’s commentaors) and more.
— And sort of a warm-up for that warm-up: “Big Country: The Story of Bluegrass Music” (9-11 p.m. Aug. 30, PBS). It includes Alison Brown, Dale Ann Bradley, Laurie Lewis and more, including (yes) lots of guys.
— Afterward, “Patsy & Loretta” (9-11 p.m. Oct. 19, Lifetime) portrays the relationship of two of the greats, Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn.
— And then those CMA awards (8-11 p.m., Nov. 13, CBS). This should be a great time for country.