I have always been a lover of angry female music. It started with Alanis Morissette wanting you to know, continued with Kelly Clarkson being Miss Independent, progressed with P!nk telling you to raise your glass, and has never faltered or failed me for a car ride or half marathon.
What you may notice about the ladies mentioned above is that none of them fits squarely into country music, but that is possibly what makes my love for the “misfits” of the genre so great. Give me a raspy voice, a fiery attitude, a tattooed arm, and a song with meaningful lyrics and a magnetic hook and, well, I’m hooked. Two of the women who frequent my playlist and who we recently realized have a lot in common are one of my favorite artists to cover as much as possible, Jo Dee Messina, and one of my favorite artists I plan to cover as much as possible, Leah Turner.
Before you scratch your heads and try to draw the correlation, let me break it down for you and explain why these ladies are two peas in a pod. First, they each took major record label experience, learned a lot about who they are as artists, and continued on as independents with unfettered musical freedom. Now we are hearing new music from Jo Dee and Leah that expresses who they are, no holds bar, in this very moment — without red tape coming into play. And that rocks.
Next, these women in country are so open, honest, and creative that they built two entirely different songs around the loudly silent message of giving somebody the finger. While Jo Dee was “saying goodbye one finger shy of the peace sign”, Leah was breaking off an engagement and saying “take your ring and here’s my finger”. Sassy, snarky, and scorned … just the way I like my female artists.
Further, Jo Dee and Leah each have unique vocals, albeit for very different reasons. Jo Dee has pristine, dynamic, and effortless soulful delivery, while Leah is gravelly, sultry, and tears it up from the depths of her soul. The key word here is SOUL. Take either of these country ladies, hand them your favorite song, and ask for a cover performance. You will get two startlingly different interpretations, but what they will have in common is soul and passion that you will be hard pressed to find elsewhere.
Lastly, to put it frankly, these two are under-appreciated bad asses who can throw on some rocking attire, belt bitterly, and captivate an audience within seconds of opening their mouths. An uptempo song will put the “power” in empowerment and a ballad will bring you to your knees — all while the artists standing on the stage in front of you are outwardly emoting everything you are feeling inside. Taking stage presence to another level, Jo Dee and Leah will never deliver the same song the same way twice, making each show an exciting adventure with an element of newness and surprise that few can match. Fun-loving personalities and fan appreciation are also incorporated into those shows, bringing laughs during the down time and can elicit tears as they each pull you back.
The moral of the story is: please collaborate. I am happy to connect you two. Oh, and if that happens, the liner notes can read “We would like to thank Jen Swirsky and the rest of the NashvilleGab writers for facilitating this beautiful and magical relationship. We owe everything to you.” Or something of that nature.
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