Nikki Lane (left) and Brandy Clark
by Caitlin White
The trends in mainstream country music have been watched closely over the last year or so. 2013 saw periods when women were almost completely absent from the Billboard Hot Country chart—at one point, there was only one song by a woman in the Top 20. There are established exceptions: Miranda Lambert’s commercial success with blazing, defiant anthems continues and Carrie Underwood consistently hits the charts, but the next wave of female country singer/songwriters isn’t gaining much commercial traction.
This lack of commercially successful female artists, however, doesn’t necessarily extend to the album charts, where not all women are facing lackluster album sales, which makes their absence from radio even more interesting, and disconcerting. Apart from the majors, some women’s albums have success on smaller, indie labels, like Holly Williams’ self-released The Highway, which debuted at Number One on the Heatseekers chart. Similarly, 2013 saw Brandy Clark’s debut, 12 Stories, peak at Number Two on that chart, and Caitlin Rose cracked it at Number 29 with The Stand-In.