Mickey Guyton on his debut album, “Remember Her Name”

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Online, Guyton regularly rejects offensive missives from backward country fans who bristle with his claim to the genre or his willingness to speak out against racism in his ranks.

“I’m on antidepressants because it’s been so difficult,” she said.

This context makes the specific achievements of Guyton’s debut album even more remarkable. Although it tackles deeply marked subjects, “Remember Her Name” is, at heart, a fundamentally optimistic album, from its resolute lyrical stances on decency and empathy to its production, which is often reminiscent of the majestic country music of the greats. tents. from the 1990s.

“Big always feels comfortable for me,” Guyton said. “I was always thinking of the great country of the 90s, of this flashback.” Laughing, she added, “I even have a French manicure.”

The legacies of loudly voiced and emotionally colorful singers like Martina McBride are clear on songs like the inspiring “Higher”, Beyoncé’s dazzling cover of “If I Were a Boy” and on the title track, which plays like a song. superhero theme. “Different” fills the pop light with an improvised honky-tonk swagger. And “Rosé” is a thoroughly modern anthem about something to drink that is not beer, and is also, Guyton said, a protest against Nashville’s unspoken ban on women singing about alcohol. .

“There is so much about this record that is so positive, that is so inclusive,” Guyton said of balancing songs from his personal experience with ones that tackle broader themes. “They had to hear ‘Black Like Me’ and ‘What are you going to tell him?’ be like, ‘Oh.’ I have been here from the start. I always write positive and inclusive songs. You just haven’t heard them before.

Getting people to hear these songs is the next challenge. Country radio, in particular, has always been a space of disappointment for female performers, even in the wake of the ‘tomato’ of 2015, where a male radio consultant said female artists should be sprinkled with salad sparingly. country waves. But that hurdle has opened up new opportunities for singers like Kacey Musgraves, Brandi Carlile, and Maren Morris, who have built their fan bases outside the usual avenues and with fewer concessions. Which means that while Guyton’s refreshing approach to country may not be in line with what’s currently clogging the genre’s charts, the possibility of creating a new path is more viable than ever.


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