‘Cowboy Carter’ is a genre-bending love letter to country music

On March 19th, ten days before the release of her anticipated album Cowboy Carter, Beyoncé took to Instagram to be open with fans about everything she put into this album.

“It was born out of an experience that I had years ago where I did not feel welcomed…and it was very clear that I wasn’t,” the singer wrote. Many speculate this is about the racism and backlash she received when making a surprise appearance alongside The Chicks at the 2016 CMA’s

While some might refuse to call Cowboy Carter a country album since Beyoncé isn’t known as a country music artist, Queen Bey was born and raised in Houston, Texas, by a mother from Louisana and a father from Alabama. Her country roots run much deeper than some country music artists topping the charts today, and if you listen closely, her music over the last few years has some hint of country in it. This new album is a testimony that an artist isn’t bound to one genre, and as Country music legend Linda Martell says at the beginning of track 12 ‘SPAGHETTII’, “Genres are a funny little concept, aren’t they?” 

Cowboy Carter Album Cover Photo Courtesy of Parkwood Entertainment/Columbia Records

“Cowboy Carter isn’t a country album. It’s a Beyoncé album.” 

Part of a three-act album release, Cowboy Carter follows Act One, Renaissance, where Beyoncé added her flair to the music of the ballroom scene. Now, she has made her mark on the country music scene. Her first two singles, released back in February, ‘Texas Hold Em’ and ’16 Carriages,’ teased a complete album of country songs. However, the final product is so much more than that. As she states at the end of her post, “This ain’t a Country album. This is a ‘Beyoncé’ album.”

The complete album is a captivating musical odyssey that seamlessly blends the heartfelt storytelling of country music with the infectious rhythms of pop and the soulful melodies of R&B. Through this album, Cowboy Carter is a Beyoncé love letter to her connection with country music and the black pioneers of the genres past and black cultures roots in the genre along with her connection to country music. With her cover of The Beatles “Blackbird” and originals like ‘Ya Ya’ and ‘Riverdance’ driving this message home.

Cowboy Carter ALternative Cover. Photo Courtesy of Columbia Records

“Hey Honey Bey, It’s Dolly P.” 

Tracks nine and ten, ‘Dolly P’ and ‘Jolene’ were just two of the most anticipated songs on Cowboy Carter. There’s no debate that Dolly Parton is one of the most influential singer/songwriters in not only the country music scene but the music industry over the last few decades. 

‘Dolly P’ features a quick message from Parton herself with the iconic opening guitar string in the back; Parton asks, “You know that hussy with the good hair you sing about?” in reference to “Becky with the good hair” from the Beyoncé 2016 song ‘Sorry.’ Reminding her of someone similar despite her having locks of auburn hair. “Just a hair of a different color. But it hurts just the same,” she says as the song transitions to ‘Jolene’. 

‘Dolly P’ interlude into Beyoncé’s re-telling of the classic song feels like a passing-the-torch moment when it comes to her turn to make a modern version of the 1973 hit. Where Parton pleads for Jolene to leave her man alone so she can remain happy, Beyoncé takes the approach of standing her ground. She’s not begging Jolene to stay away. She’s warning Jolene to stay away for her own sake. Despite the song’s different approach, Beyoncé still conveys the hurt and pain felt when the ‘other woman’ finds their way into a long-term relationship that Parton captured. 

Photo from Dolly Parton’s Offical Instagram, X (Twitter), Facebook

While the Beyhive dawns their cowboy hats and boots into this new Beyoncé era. There is still that anticipation of what will be to conclusion of this trilogy. Despite this, Cowboy Carter is a stable of Beyoncé extensive and impressive discography. Bringing her own personal sound with classic country instrumentals and featuring popular artists such as Miley Cyrus, Shaboozey, and Willie Nelson, this country album rightfully has its place in the history of the genre and will inspire artists in the present and future. 

Stream Cowboy Carter now 

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