“Ten years ago today I moved to Nashville,” Musgraves, 30, said on stage. As for the album, “We poured everything we have into this — most of all, love.”
Since the CMA Awards’ inception in 1967, only a handful of women have won the Album of the Year award. The last woman to win was Miranda Lambert in 2014 for her album, Platinum. Lambert had previously earned the title in 2010 for Revolution, and Taylor Swift won a year earlier for Fearless. The only other women to have received the award are Lee Ann Womack (2005), the Dixie Chicks (2000), Patty Loveless (1995) and Anne Murray (1984).
This week, Lambert — whose 2013 single “Mama's Broken Heart” was written by Musgraves — spoke out about the lack of representation for female artists in the country music industry. In an interview with The Washington Post, Lambert discussed her most recent No. 1 hit, “Drowns the Whiskey,” which she recorded with Jason Aldean.
“Yes, I had to sing with someone with a penis to get a No. 1,” Lambert, 35, said.
Before “Drowns the Whiskey” topped Billboard‘s Country Airplay chart in August, Lambert hadn’t notched a No. 1 on that chart since 2013, with her Keith Urban collab “We Were Us”; she’d previously topped the chart with “Over You” (2012), “Heart Like Mine” (2011) and “House That Built Me” (2010).
“I do like this person, Jason Aldean, a lot…so it was a great song with an old friend,” Lambert added. “It is interesting that I haven’t had even a Top 20 in a long, long time. And then it goes No. 1 because it’s a dude. But you know — if we went and looked at how many singles or records were sold for the Top 10 songs right now, I’d probably triple it on record sales. So it doesn’t matter.”
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Another country star, Sara Evans recently found herself in the middle of the often tense conversation regarding equality on country radio, specifically due to her comments on social media on Oct. 26 when she expressed her opinion about the “blatant stonewalling of female artists.” In the same social media post, Evans referred to comments she made to Billboard about how her family has often watched her cry in regards her own lack of play since launching her own label in 2017.
“It’s true — my kids have watched me sob,” she told PEOPLE exclusively earlier this month. “I have been singing since I was 4 years old, and I was raised on country music. There is no reason that I am now being shunned after I’ve made my mark and contributed to the genre.”
Evans has experienced much difficulty with getting her songs on the radio as of late, with recent singles such as “Marquee Sign” and “Put My Heart Down” not even reaching the top 40. In 2017, the Missouri native released her eighth studio album Words on her own Born to Fly Records label. Featuring 14 different female songwriters, the album shot to No. 1 on the iTunes Country Albums Chart upon its release — but her music never found itself on the radio.
“Words was the best album I ever made and it wasn’t played,” said Evans, who hasn’t had a number one single since “A Little Bit Stronger” in 2010. “I’m not about to spend 1/3 of my year away from my children for no reason to go on some radio tour and promote it and essentially introduce myself to everyone. It’s humiliating. I remember when Kix Brooks went solo, and I watched him have to go around to country radio like he was some new artist. It’s absolutely ridiculous.”
And as far as Evans is concerned, this struggle for females in country music isn’t necessarily new.
“Believe me when I say that I know it takes work to get a song on the radio,” she said. “My kids grew up on my tour bus. They learned how to walk and talk on that tour bus as I visited radio stations. It was never easy, but I worked my ass off for every spin. But at least, years ago, putting myself out there would pay off.”
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“I feel like shutting that door on ‘women don’t want to hear women’ because that’s BS,” Underwood said on the Women Want to Hear Women podcast in September.
“Even when I was growing up, I wished there were more women on the radio. And I had a lot more than there is today. Think about all of the little girls that are sitting at home saying, ‘I want to be a country music singer.’ What do you tell them? What do you do?” the expectant Underwood continued. “How do you look at them and say, ‘Well, just work hard, sweetie, and you can do it,’ When that’s…not the case right now.”
The 52nd annual CMA Awards air Wednesday, Nov. 14 from Nashville at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.