BIG 98.5 Celebrates The Women of Country Music!

March is Women's History Month so to celebrate, we're highlighting the music and accomplishments of our favorite ladies in country music! Check back here every day to see who the featured artist of the day is!

March 1st - Kacey Musgraves

Kacey Musgraves began writing her own songs at the age of 8! She has since gone on to win SIX Grammy Awards, including one for Album of the Year! She'll be performing in Charlottesville, VA on September 13th.

 

March 2nd - Reba McEntire

Reba McEntire began her music career in high school while performing in the Kiowa High School band and at rodeos in her home state of Oklahoma. She later moved to Nashville and has been releasing albums since 1977! In the 1990s she went on to star in the Broadway revival of Annie get Your Gun and had her own TV show, Reba, debut in which earned her a Golden Globe nomination! She has also been an active supporter of various charitable organizations including Habitat for Humanity, The Salvation Army, the American Red Cross, Feeding America and Celebrity Fight Night. Thank you for all you do Reba!

 

March 3rd - Maren Morris

When Maren Morris was 12 she was gifted a guitar and she fell in love with it! She's been recording music since 2005, but hit her major breakthrough in 2015 with her hit song My Church. In 2016 she won New Artist of the Year at the CMA's and My Church won a Grammy for Best Solo Country Performance!

 

March 4th - Karen Fairchild & Kimberly Schlapman of Litte Big Town

Founded in 1998, Little Big Town has been consistently putting out albums ever since. Some of their #1 Singles include "Pontoon", "Girl Crush", and "Better Man" . The group has also won numerous CMAs and ACMs over the years!

 

March 5th - Shania Twain 

Originally from Ontario, Canada, Shania Twain rose to fame in the 1990s with smash hit songs like “Man, I Feel Like A Woman” and “That Don’t Impress Me Much”. Her commercial success has garnered her the nickname “Queen of Country Pop”. In 1999 she won Entertainer of the Year at the ACMs AND the CMAs! She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame as well as Canada’s Walk of Fame. In 2016 she was declared “Artist of a Lifetime” by CMT. Long story short, Shania is awesome. ‘Nuff said.

 

March 6th - Lee Ann Womack

For Day 6 of Women's History Month we're highlighting Lee Ann Womack! She released her first self titled album in 1997 and her work quickly drew comparisons to Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette. In 2000 her single "I Hope You Dance" was a major crossover hit on the country and pop charts. And she's got awards too! She has received five Academy of Country Music Awards, six Country Music Association Awards, and a Grammy Award. You also might know of her daughter, singer songwriter Aubrie Sellers

 

March 7th - Tammy Wynette

Often called the "First Lady of Country Music" Tammy Wynette has one of the best-selling hit singles by a woman in the history of country music with her classic and best-known song, "Stand by Your Man". During the 1960s and the early 1970s, she charted TWENTY number one singles! Originally from Tremont, Mississippi, Tammy was an all-star basketball player in high school. She married shortly after graduation but her first husband did not approve of her aspirations of becoming a country singer. When she left him, he said, "Dream on, baby." as she drove away. Years later he showed up to one of her concerts looking for an autograph and she obliged by signing it with  "Dream on, baby". FIERCE. Tammy passed away on April 6, 1998 after a battle with multiple health problems but her music lives on in all of us.

 

March 8th - Sara Evans

Originally from Missouri, Sara Evans has released 8 albums since the 1990s. Her album "Born To Fly" earned 2x platinum certification! She has won Billboard Music Awards, CMAs and ACMs. She has also had four number one singles, including "Suds In The Bucket" and  "A Little Bit Stronger". Plus, she's making a pit stop in RVA tonight! She will be performing at the Beacon Theater!

 

March 9th - Gretchen Wilson

Gretchen Wilson made her debut in 2004 with her Grammy award-winning single "Redneck Woman". On top of that she has also won CMAs and ACMs! Her song "All Jacked Up" (off of her second album with the same name) became the highest-debuting single for a female country artist upon its 2005 release.She has also been a major advocate for adult education, even testifying before Congress on the value and importance of support for adult learners. Wilson dropped out of high school while in 9th grade but gained her GED in 2008 through an adult education. Thanks for all you do Gretchen!

 

March 10th - Jana Kramer 

Jana Kramer is a triple threat! Not only is she a country artist, but she's an actor and dancer too! She was on the TV series One Tree Hill as the character Alex Dupre and she even had a stint on Dancing With The Stars! She has two albums, "Jana Kramer" her self titled debut  and "Thirty One". In 2013 she won Top New Female Artist at the ACMs. We can't wait to see what the future has in store for her! 

 

March 11th - Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum

Music is in Hillary Scott's blood - she's the daughter of country singer Linda Davis and her father is a musician too! At 14 she decided that she wanted to be a country singer and in 2006 she helped form Lady Antebellum. With her other band Hillary Scott and The Scott Family she has won 2 Grammy Awards and she was a CMT Artist of the Year Honoree. 

 

March 12th - Martina McBride

Martina McBride began singing around the age of 8 or 9 for a band that her father was in! In 1989 she and her husband moved to Nashville where he ended up working for Garth Brooks's sound team. She joined them on tour and sold Garth merchandise. Impressed with her energy, Garth offered her the spot of his opening act provided she could get a record contract. She officially signed with a label in 1991 and released her debut album in 1992! She has been nominated for Grammys 14 times and has won multiple CMAs and ACMs. She has served as a spokeswoman for the National Domestic Violence Hotline as well as for the National Network to End Domestic Violence and national spokeswoman for the Tulsa Domestic Violence and Intervention Services. Thank you for all you do Martina!

 

March 13th - Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift moved to Nashville when she was just 14 years old to pursue a career in country music. Her debut album was released in 2006 and the rest you can say is history. She has become one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 50 million albums. She has won numerous Grammys, MTV VMAs, AMAs, CMAs, and ACMs. Taylor is also well known for her interactions with her fans, from sending cookies and exclusive memorabilia to even gifting one fan $1,989 dollars to go towards college. Though she may not be a country music star anymore (she's a pop star now!), we still love her!

 

March 14th - Patsy Cline

Born in Winchester, VA Patsy Cline rose to fame in the late 50s and early 60s. Patsy was a country music pioneer, overcoming many obstacles like poverty, a devastating car accident that many thought would end her career, and other professional obstacles. She has inspired many of your favorite ladies of country music like Reba McEntire and LeAnn Rimes.  "Walkin' After Midnight,"  "I Fall to Pieces," "She's Got You," and "Crazy," (written by country legend Willie Nelson!). She is timeless in every way. In 1963 she died in a plane crash on March 5, 1963. 10 years after her death she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Her plaque reads "Her heritage of timeless recordings is testimony to her artistic capacity."

March 15th - Faith Hill

Faith Hill is one of the most successful country artists of all time, having sold more than 40 million records! She gained international success in early 1998 with "This Kiss". Hill has won five Grammy Awards, 15 Academy of Country Music Awards, six American Music Awards and many other awards and accolades. In 1996 she married another country favorite - Tim McGraw and together they have gone on joint tours and worked on many music projects together. This year, she is set to get her own star on the Holloywood Walk of Fame!

 

March 16th - Patty Loveless

Born in Pikeville, KY, Patty Loveless burst onto the country music scene in 1986 with her first self-titled album. He siblings Dottie and Roger were traveling musicians and while touring with them she decided she wanted to pursue a career in country music. She has charted more than 40 cuts on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, including five in the No. 1 position: "Timber, I'm Falling in Love", "Chains", "Blame It on Your Heart", "You Can Feel Bad", and "Lonely Too Long" and has recorded FOURTEEN albums! She has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1988. As for awards, she's pretty decorated with multiple AMAs, CMAs, ACMs, and two Grammys. 

March 17th - Alison Krauss

Alison Krauss knew from a young age that she wanted to be a singer. She was entering (and winning) local singing contests by the age of 10 and recording for the first time at 14! She has recorded 14 albums and helped renew interest in bluegrass music in the United States. She holds the record for the 3rd Most Grammy Awards WON with TWENTY SEVEN of them under her belt! 

March 18th - Kimberly Perry of The Band Perry

Kimberly Perry began perfoming music as a teenager when she formed a band with her brothers. They later went on to call themselves The Band Perry and were discovered by Garth Brooks' manager! They released their first album in 2010. With The Band Perry, Kimberly has won numerous ACMs and CMAs. 

March 19th - Trisha Yearwood

Originally from Georgia, Trisha Yearwood has sold more than 15 million albums worldwide, and has won three Grammy Awards, four Country Music Association Awards, two Academy of Country Music Awards, an American Music Award, and a PollstarIndustry Award for touring. After graduating from high school, Trisha moved to Nashville where she aspired to be an agent for musicians. When that didn't work out she decided to try her hand at singing and songwriting (she had been an avid singer in school). She rose to fame in 1991 with her debut single "She's in Love with the Boy", which became her first No. 1 single. In 1997 she landed a recurring role on the TV show JAG where she played Lieutenant Commander Teresa Coulter, a Navy coroner and forensic specialist. In 2008 she released her first cookbook which she co-wrote with her mother and sister and then in 2012 she launched her own cooking show on the Food Network called "Trisha's Southern Kitchen" (which earned her a Daytime Emmy Award). 

March 20th - Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland

Raised in a small town in Georgia, Jennifer Nettles began singing at a young age by performing at school assemblies, her Southern Baptist church, and in community theater. She was also a member of Georgia 4-H's Clovers & Company performing arts group from 1986 to 1993. While in college she was in a band called Soul Miner's Daughter and released two albums with them. In 1999 she formed the Jennifer Nettles Band, which was eventually selected the grand prize winner from more than 2000 bands in "The Big Deal $100,000 Music Search" presented by Mars Music. In 2006 she formed Sugarland and that's when things really took off! With Sugarland she has won multiple Grammys, CMAs, ACMs, and more. Sugarland took a 5 year hiatus so members (including Nettles) could focus on other projects. In 2017 they started making music together again. She made her acting debut in the NBC television movie, Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors portraying Dolly Parton's mother!

March 21st - Dolly Parton

Starting out with the humblest of beginnings, Dolly Parton has become and legend and superstar in her own right. Dolly began singing as a child and recorded her first song when she was just 13! In 1967 Porter Wagoner invited her to join his show and that's where she gained national star status! Together she and Wagoner recorded many duet albums but in 1974 their professional relationship broke. This break inspired her to write her smash "I Will Always Love You" which went right to number 1! Elvis Presley loved it so much that he asked to record it and she was interested until Presley's wily manager, Colonel Tom Parker, told her that it was standard procedure for the songwriter to sign over half of the publishing rights to any song recorded by Presley. She refused and many credit this move to be one of the best she ever made. Dolly is larger than life with her own theme park, Dollywood, numerous awards like AMAs, CMAs, ACMs, Grammys and a Kennedy Center Honor, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and a flower species named after her! She even has her own literacy program, Dolly Parton's Imagination Library,[104] a part of the Dollywood Foundation, mails one book per month to each enrolled child from the time of their birth until they enter kindergarten. Loooooong story short, Dolly is amazing and she's a once in a lifetime performer with an impact that will undoubtedly last forever. 

 

March 22nd - Kelsea Ballerini

Kelsea Ballerini grew up in Knoxville, TN and began singing in church and school choir. She wrote her first song at 12 for her mom and then moved to Nashville with her family 3 years later. At 19 she signed her first record contract and in 2014 released her first single  "Love Me Like You Mean It". She released her first album The First Time in 2015, and her second album Unapologetically was released on November 3, 2017. She has won multiple ACMs and CMAs and has been nominated for a Grammy too! In early 2017, Ballerini was named to Forbes' 30 Under 30 – Music list at number two. In the fall of 2018 she was a coach on "The Voice". We expect to see a whole lot more from Kelsea in the coming years!

 

March 23rd - Leann Rimes

Leann Rimes began singing at a very young age and by age 9 she was singing the Star Spangled Banner at Dallas Cowboys games! At 13 she was catapulted to fame with "Blue", written by radio dj Bill Mack. In turn, this made her the youngest country music star since Tanya Tucker in 1972. Rimes has won many awards, including two Grammys, three ACMs, a CMA, 12 Billboard Music Awards, and one American Music award. In 2000 she appeared in the movie "Coyote Ugly" and contributed 4 songs to the film's soundtrack, including the inescapeable "Can't Fight The Moonlight". She has also written four books: two novels and two children's books. Her hit song "How Do I Live" was ranked as the most successful song of the 1990s by Billboard magazine. In 2008, she opened up about her lifelong struggle with the autoimmune disease psoriasis and she participated in a PSA to raise awareness about the disease. She has also advocated for Stand Up to Cancer, The Trevor Project, Habitat For Humanity, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, and many many more. 

 

March 24th - Terri Clark

Terri Clark was born and raised in Canada but moved to Nashville, TN shortly after she graduated high school. She had worked as a waitress to save up for her move to the states. She started playing at Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, a honky-tonk bar across the alley from the Nashville's Ryman Auditorium. At the time, country music executives were not interested in traditional country, but record producer and singer Keith Stegall gave her advice to not give up. Then in 1994, Stegall became an executive at PolyGram/Mercury Records in Nashville and signed Clark to a record deal. Lucky! She released her debut album in 1995. In 2004 she was invited to join the Grand Ole Opry. She has won 2 Juno Awards and a CMA. In 2016, Terri became the new hostess of the Saturday night classic country program Country Gold, replacing Randy Owen.

 

March 25th - Jo Dee Messina

Growing up in Massachusetts, Jo Dee Messina knew from a young age that she wanted to be a singer. Her biggest influences were Patsy Cline, Reba McEntire, and The Judds. By age 16 she was playing local clubs, singing while her brother and sister provided backup on drums and guitar. The group continued performing until Jo Dee graduated from high school. At 19 she decided to move to Nashville and worked various temp jobs, including computer programming and accounting, while entering talent contests around Nashville. One win led to a regular gig on the radio show Live at Libby's, which caught the interest of producer Byron Gallimore, and in 1996 she released her debut album! Her debut album went on the sell 500,000 copies, making it certified gold. She has won an ACM, CMA and Billboard Music Award.  She became involved with the Special Olympics after stumbling across an event while jogging. She has become an ambassador and performs at Special Olympics events in order to increase attendance. After battling cancer in 2017, she resumed touring in 2018 and keeps adding 2019 tour dates! 

 

March 26th - Miranda Lambert

Miranda Lambert grew up in Texas and began her singing career while she was in high school as the frontwoman for The Texas Pride Band. She also fronted the house band at the Reo Palm Isle in Longview, Texas, where Brooks and Dunn started out as the house band! In 2003 she was on a singing competition show called "Nashville Star" where she finished in 3rd place. While on the show she caught the ear of the show's judge and Sony Music executive, Tracy Gershon, who later convinced the label to sign her. In 2004 she released her debut album "Kerosene" and debuted at #1 on the Billbaord Country chart! In 2009, Lambert opened MuttNation Foundation, with her mother, Bev. The organization focuses on rescue animals and shelters, and Lambert has been vocal about the cause being very close to her heart.In 2011 she formed a band called the Pistol Annies with  Ashley Monroe, and Angaleena Presley. In 2012 she made a guest appearance on Law and Order: SVU as Lacey Ford. Over the years Miranda has won 2 Grammys and she has been awarded Female Vocalist of the Year at the ACMs NINE CONSECUTIVE TIMES which is an amazing feat! She has also won the CMA for album of the year twice. 

 

March 27th - Crystal Gayle

Crystal Gayle was born in Paintsville, KY and is the younger sister of the very famous Loretta Lynn. After she graduated high school her older sister helped her and encouraged her in her career by helping her sign a recording contract with Decca Records in 1970. She achieved minor success with Decca and encouraged by her sister to really develop her own musical identity, she signed a new contract with United Artists Records in 1974. It was with this new contract that Crystal Gayle found major success with hit songs such as "Wrong Road Again" in 1975 and "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue" in 1977 which went on to become an international hit. Crystal Gayle went on to have many many more hits throughout the 70s and 80s. She has won 1 Grammy, 5 ACMs, 2 CMAs, and 3 AMAs. She also has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2017. 

 

March 28th - Loretta Lynn

Loretta Lynn was born in Butcher Hollow, KY to very humble beginnings as the second child of eight to a coal mining family. When she was just 15 years old she got married and moved to Washington State with her husband. In 1953 he bought her a $17 guitar and she began to teach herself how to play and sing. At her husband's encouragement, she formed a band called Loretta and the Trailblazers, with her brother Jay Lee playing lead guitar. She cut her first record, "I'm a Honky Tonk Girl", in February 1960. She became a part of the country music scene in Nashville in the 1960s and in 1967 she had the first of 16 number-one hits. Her later hits include "Don't Come Home A' Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)", "You Ain't Woman Enough", "Fist City", and "Coal Miner's Daughter". She often focused on blue collar women's issues in her music like cheating husbands and most of her music was inspired by her own marriage. Many country radio stations refused to play her music at the time and nine of her songs were banned! Over the years she has won many awards and accolades including: three Grammy Awards, seven American Music Awards, eight Broadcast Music Incorporated awards, thirteen Academy of Country Music, eight Country Music Association, and twenty-six fan-voted Music City News awards. She is officially the most awarded woman in country music. She also has a Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music and in 2013 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Long story short, Loretta Lynn has made one of the biggest impacts on country music and her legacy will undoubtedly last forever. 

 

March 29th - Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood rose to fame as the winner of the 4th season of American Idol. Her debut single, "Inside Your Heaven", is the only country song to debut at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100. She released her debut album Some Hearts in 2005 and it quickly became one of the fastest selling debut albums for a female country artist! With huge crossover hits like "Jesus, Take the Wheel" and "Before He Cheats" it's no surprise! Her second album, Carnival Ride, followed in 2007 and it had one of the biggest ever opening weeks by a female artist. She has won 7 Grammy Awards, ten Billboard Music Awards, fourteen ACM Awards, thirteen American Music Awards, nine CMA Awards, and a Guinness World Record! She was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2008. She has given back a lot to her hometown and established the Checotah Animal, Town, and School Foundation in 2009. The foundation helps with general causes, needs and services in the area of Checotah to directly impact the community. She has also guest starred on the show How I Met Your Mother and she made her film debut in Soul Surfer. Carrie Underwood has already accomplished so much in her career so far and we can't wait to see what's next for her!

 

March 30th - Wynonna

Born in Kentucky, Wynonna became interested in music after getting a guitar for Christmas. She began to write her own songs inspired by the country music her mother Naomi listened to. In 1979 she and her mother moved to Nashville in pursuit of a career in music. Wynonna and Naomi were signed to RCA Records in 1983 as the duo The Judds. Between 1983 and 1991, The Judds charted 23 hit singles on the Billboard Hot Country Singles charts, including 14 number ones! They recorded 8 studio albums together. In 1992 she released her first solo album titled Wynonna. Four of the singles from that album went right to number 1! In 1993 she won the ACM for Female Vocalist of the Year (her mother Naomi accepted it on her behalf). She has also won numerous Billboard Music Awards and has a star on the Music City Walk of Fame. She's also done some TV work with appearances on Touched By An Angel and Hope & Faith. She and her mother Naomi debuted their own show on Oprah's OWN network called The Judds in 2011. She has been involved with numerous charities, most notably the USO and YouthAIDS. Wynonna giving spirit and amazing voice make her a stand out among the ladies of country music!

 

March 31st - Tanya Tucker

Tanya Tucker knew she wanted to be a country music star when she was 8 years old. By the time she was 13 she had her first hit, "Delta Dawn", which was released in 1972. When word got out about how old she was, she became a sensation. In 1986 she released one of her biggest hits yet, with "One Love at a Time", which climbed to number three. Tucker published a 1997 autobiography, Nickel Dreams: My Life and has starred in her own reality show, Tuckerville, on TLC in 2005. It ran for two seasons for a total of 18 episodes. She has been nominated for 10 Grammys and has won multiple CMAs and ACMs. From child star to full blown country star, Tanya Tucker is our favorite lady of outlaw country!