Beyoncé Cowboy Carter album takes ‘deeper dive’ into country music history

By Thomson Reuters Mar 29, 2024 | 12:19 PM

By Kanishka Singh

(Reuters) – U.S. music superstar Beyoncé on Friday released her highly anticipated country album, Cowboy Carter, which she says was born out of an experience years ago where she “did not feel welcomed.”

Country music legends Linda Martell and Willie Nelson are featured on the album released on Friday, which also had duets with Miley Cyrus, Post Malone and a cover of Dolly Parton’s famed “Jolene.”

Many critics offered praise for the album with Page Six’s Nicholas Hautman calling it “the revival that country music so desperately needed”.

Experts and fans view Beyoncé’s foray into country music as a reclamation and homage to the legacy of Black Americans within country music and culture – a history that has largely gone unrecognized in some mainstream music circles.

They say Beyoncé, who was born and raised in Houston, Texas, is now walking in the footsteps of many acclaimed Black country music legends who came before her.

“The criticisms I faced when I first entered this genre forced me to propel past the limitations that were put on me,” the singer wrote on Instagram ahead of the album’s release.

She had first teased the album when she released two new songs after making a surprise appearance in a Super Bowl commercial recently. The album serves as the second in a three-album project that kicked off with her 2022 critically acclaimed “Renaissance.”

Beyoncé has been vocal throughout her career about her ties to country music and southern culture, dropping hints throughout her career of the impact both have had.

In a post, she described how a negative experience with the country music crowd led her to do “a deeper dive into the history of Country music.”

The album has a theme of uncovering Black identity in country spaces. One of the album’s 27 titles is called “The Linda Martell Show,” after the first Black woman to perform at the Grand Ole Opry in 1969.

The album also features a cover of The Beatles’ classic track “Blackbird,” retitled “Blackbiird,” which Paul McCartney originally penned as an ode to the nation’s civil rights movement, racial tensions and the struggles Black women in particular endured to achieve equity.

Beyoncé’s version features Black country artist Tanner Adell and credits other Black artists, including Brittney Spencer, Tiera Kennedy and Reyna Roberts.

“The instantly timeless 27-track project is a soulful celebration of Southern values and the genre’s African American roots,” Hautman wrote in Page Six.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; editing by Kat Stafford and David Gregorio)